DMX, a legendary New York rapper who topped the charts with his gruff delivery and signature “What!” ad-lib, has died. He was 50.
The “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” rapper’s family released a statement Friday saying he passed away with loved ones by his side.
“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 statement said.
Family members went on to thank DMX’s fans for their support.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever. 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. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized,” the statement added.
DMX had been hospitalized since Friday, April 2. The White Plains, New York hospital where he was being treated released a statement saying he suffered “catastrophic cardiac arrest.” Multiple media reports last week said the heart attack was triggered by a drug overdose.
DMX was open about his struggles with substance abuse. An October 2019 post on his Instagram account said, “DMX has checked himself into a rehab facility. He apologizes for his cancelled shows and thanks his fans for their continued support.”
Born in December 1970 in Mount Vernon, New York, DMX faced many challenges growing up.
In an episode of the 2020 BET docuseries Ruff Ryders Chronicles, he talked about his tough childhood, not having his father around and his mother leaving him at a group home for troubled kids.
“She just left,” he said as his eyes filled with tears. “Right then and there, I learned to just put away, conceal, bury, whatever bothered me.”
He explained that he grew up hustling in the projects and described his life as “rapping and robbing.”
Ruff Ryders label founders Joaquin “Waah” Dean and Darin “Dee” Dean said they saw potential in the troubled teen and helped him develop as an artist.
In 1998, DMX released his first studio album titled “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot.” The multiplatinum-selling record debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and included the hits “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy” and “How It’s Goin’ Down.”
Over the years, DMX released seven albums, earned three Grammy Award nominations and took home an American Music Award in 2000 for favorite rap/hip-hop artist.
DMX faced off against Snoop Dogg in a July Verzuz battle, that drew more than 500,000 viewers.
In addition to music, the New York rapper had a successful movie career with roles in Belly (1998), Romeo Must Die (2000), Exit Wounds (2001) and Cradle 2 the Grave (2003).
DMX is survived by his 15 children and his mother.