According to a statement from his family, Earl Simmons, best known as the rapper DMX, died Friday at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. He had been on life support for a few days following a heart attack. He was 50 years old at the time.
“We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days,” the family said.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” the family continued. “He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him.”
“We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time.
“Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX.”
DMX, or Dark Man X, was a well-known hip-hop musician who collaborated with JAY-Z, Ja Rule, and LL Cool J, among others.
DMX’s voice has a distinct rasp to it.
His debut album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, became multiplatinum due to his frantic aggressiveness in delivering his words. He then went on to have a series of chart-topping albums, with songs like “Party Up (Up In Here)” among them. His success in music led to roles in films including Belly, Romeo Must Die, and Cradle 2 the Grave.
With the murders of fellow rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur before he debuted, DMX established himself as one of the most prominent figures in hardcore hip hop, and was the label’s top artist.
“…And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ” all of which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard list, gave him even more popularity.
DMX was born on December 18, 1970, in Mount Vernon, New York, and raised in Yonkers. He had a difficult upbringing, suffering severe physical abuse from his mother when he was a youngster. For most of his childhood, he was in and out of boys’ homes, and it was in one of these institutions that he acquired an interest in music and eventually chose his stage moniker, Dark Man X.
He got his name from the name of a drum machine that is commonly utilized in rap music.
His professional accomplishments were frequently eclipsed by his substance addiction problems and run-ins with the authorities. In 2017, he pled guilty to tax fraud and received a one-year sentence.
DMX says his drug usage began at the age of 14 when his mentor handed him a blunt laced with crack, according to an interview on rapper Talib Kweli’s “People’s Party” show last year.
“I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy,” DMX, who became upset throughout the interview, remarked, adding that he had never smoked anything before that night.
DMX was a devoted Christian who ended his live performances with a prayer. He said in a 2019 interview with GQ that he was so overwhelmed after concerts that he needed a private minute to pray. “I just take a minute for myself and just, I thank Him, I praise Him. And I’m like, ‘Thank you, thank you.’ I’m like, ‘Who am I to deserve this?’ We all bleed the same blood.”
Following his passing, a slew of celebrities paid homage on Friday, expressing their appreciation for the singer and extending condolences to his family.
“My childhood and love for music would not have been the same without this man,” actor Chriss Redd tweeted. “DMX was easily my favorite artist growing up. I had every album, every ruff Ryder song, followed any artist he endorsed. Man….RIP the dog. There will never be another like him.”
Ice Cube, Soulja Boy, and Chance the Rapper all sent their sympathies through Twitter.