The rapper himself stoked the flames of this rumor. He had already evaded one attempt on his life—why wouldn't he survive another? His death also occurred right at the beginning of the internet's rise as a channel for conspiracy theoriests to air their most extreme ideas in a public forum. Needless to say, rumors soon spread.
Then there was his final album. The first released since the rapper's actual passing, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory featured cover art with 2Pac on a cross, as if throwing subliminal hints about his own death (albeit with the caption "In no way is this portrait an expression of disrespect for Jesus Christ. -Makaveli.")
And, of course, he had changed his name to Makaveli prior to the record's release, a reference to a writer he had read while imprisoned: Niccolo Machiavelli, the famous Italian politician, philosopher and historian. Machiavelli was notable for—amongst other things—advocating a moral code wherein the ends justify the means, even if that included, say, faking one's own death to retain power.
Even more fantastical theorists entered the fray; it wasn't difficult to find websites breaking down why Tupac's death date and age were symbolically linked by numerology. Photos surfaced, and rumors spread, claiming 2Pac was in Cuba, or was spotted in a video wearing sneakers that came out after he passed. The only problem with these theories were the facts; 2Pac was shot September 7, 1996, in Las Vegas, and died September 13.