Khalid Abdul Muhammad, 53, the one-time Nation of Islam official who became known for virulent attacks on whites and Jews, died Feb. 17 at a hospital in Marietta, Ga., according to a spokesman for the New Black Panther Party.
"Minister and Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad has made his transition to the ancestors," Malik Zulu Shabazz said at a news conference outside Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, where the Atlanta area resident was taken earlier in the week after reportedly suffering a brain aneurysm.
Shabazz declined to say how Mr. Muhammad died, saying only that it was of natural causes. The leader had shown no prior signs of illness, Shabazz said.
A hospital spokeswoman declined to comment.
Mr. Muhammad, a top aide to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, was little known outside the 200,000-member organization until 1993, when he gave a speech at Kean College in Union, N.J. He called Jews the "bloodsuckers of the black nation" who controlled the White House and the Federal Reserve.
He labeled the pope a "no-good cracker" and urged mob murder of white South Africans.
After the Anti-Defamation League published excerpts of the speech, condemnations poured in and the Congressional Black Caucus severed ties with Farrakhan. The furor prompted Farrakhan to demote Muhammad, but the punishment didn't silence him, and his hate-filled speeches kept him in the spotlight in the months that followed.
Mr. Muhammad went his own way and became national chairman of the New Black Panther Party.
He led the Million Youth March in New York City in 1998. The rally, attended by about 6,000 people, ended in a clash between police and marchers; dozens were injured.
In 1999, he organized a second Million Youth March, and about 2,000 people showed up. But a third gathering last year drew barely more than 100, police estimated. Muhammad blamed the "devil white media" and city officials for the low turnout.
Mr. Muhammad, born Harold Moore Jr., was a Texas native who attended Dillard University, a Methodist school in New Orleans. It was there that he became interested in the black liberation movement after hearing Farrakhan speak.
Farrakhan, who has battled prostate cancer, has said that a "near-death experience" in 1999 has left him a changed man. Since then, he has stressed unity for all races and religions.
Mr. Muhammad's survivors include a son.