DMX, the Grammy-nominated rapper who sold more than 23 million albums over the course of his career, died Friday, a week after having a heart attack at his home in New York last week, according to a family statement obtained by People, XXL, and the Associated Press.
“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,” family’s statement read in part.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” the family said in the statement. “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.
DMX (Dark Man X) began rapping in the early 1990s and released his debut album, “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot,” in 1998.
With the deaths of fellow rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur before he burst on the scene, DMX became one of the reigning stars of hardcore hip hop and was the premier artist signed to the Ruffhouse Records label.
His single, “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” helped to seal his critical and commercial success.
The rapper released several albums over the years, including one of his most commercially successful, “…And Then There Was X,” that was released in 1999 and was nominated for a Grammy in the best rap album category. It was one of three Grammy nominations for the rapper.
He sold millions of albums, boosted by hits like “Get At Me Dog” in 1998, “Party Up,” in 1999 and “X Gon’ Give It to Ya,” in 2003.
DMX’s lawyer, Murray Richman, confirmed to Rolling Stone that DMX had experienced a heart attack and was on life support as of Saturday evening. A source told TMZ the rapper had “some brain activity” and another told the outlet he was in a “vegetative state.”
Dozens of people gathered Monday night outside the hospital for a prayer vigil in support of the rapper.
Sources told TMZ that tests taken on Wednesday showed DMX’s brain function had not improved.
The Yonkers, New York rapper made a name for himself in hip-hop in the late ’90s with hits like “Get at Me Dog” and “Party Up (Up in Here),” a track from his best-selling 1999 album, “… And Then There Was X.” The album went five-times platinum, selling more than 5 million copies, and earned DMX a best rap album nomination at the 2001 Grammy Awards.
His most successful single was “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” from the soundtrack to the 2003 action film “Cradle 2 the Grave,” in which he starred alongside martial arts icon Jet Li. The song found new life after being featured in the 2016 film “Deadpool,” based on the Marvel Comics character.
He parlayed his growing fame into an acting career, appearing in multiple films including, “Romeo Must Die” and “Cradle 2 The Grave.”
His professional achievements were often overshadowed by his issues with substance abuse and run-ins with the law. He pleaded guilty to tax fraud in 2017 and was sentenced to one year in prison.
In 2019, DMX canceled a planned concert tour to seek treatment for addiction, saying at the time that he was “putting family and sobriety first.”
That same year he talked to GQ about his struggles.
“I just need to have a purpose,” he said. “And I don’t even know that purpose, because God has given me that purpose since before I was in the womb, so I’m going to fulfill that purpose … whether I want to or not, whether I know it or not, because the story has already been written. If you appreciate the good, then you have to accept the bad.”