What to Know
- Rapper DMX has died at the age of 50, his family said Friday; he had been hospitalized since April 2 after suffering a heart attack
- DMX made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart
- Along with his music career, DMX paved his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film “Belly” and appeared in “Romeo Must Die” a few years later with Jet Li and the late singer Aaliyah
DMX, the raspy-voiced hip-hop artist who produced the songs “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here)” and who rapped with a trademark delivery that was often paired with growls, barks and “What!” as an ad-lib, has died, according to a statement his family released Friday. He was 50 years old.
The Grammy-nominated performer had been on life support at a hospital in White Plains, New York, since suffering “catastrophic cardiac arrest” on April 2. His longtime lawyer, Murray Richman, has said a cause remains under investigation.
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, had struggled with drug addiction since his teenage years. Richman would not confirm reports earlier this week that an overdose may have contributed to his heart issues. An autopsy will be conducted.
Premature rumors about the rapper’s death swirled on social media since his hospitalization. As recently as Thursday night, DMX’s manager denied those rumors and asked people to stop spreading them out of respect for the rapper’s family.
Supporters and family of the rapper DMX chanted his name and offered up prayers Monday outside the New York hospital where he remained on life support. NBC New York’s Ida Siegal reports.
Meanwhile, outpourings of love and support from the music and entertainment worlds have been flowing in since news of his hospitalization broke. Hundreds of supporters and family members held a vigil outside the hospital earlier this week.
The crowd called “DMX! DMX!” and when urged to by the main speaker, crossed their arms in the shape of an X. A woman’s sobs reverberated as a popular recording by him was placed before the audience.
DMX made his rap debut in 1998, and has released seven albums in a career that has included three Grammy nominations. His first studio album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The multiplatinum selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog” and “Stop Being Greedy.”
The rapper had four other chart-topping albums including “…And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ.” He has released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations.
Along with his music career, DMX paved his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film “Belly” and appeared in “Romeo Must Die” a couple years later with Jet Li and the late singer Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for the film’s soundtrack song “Come Back in One Piece.”
The 50-year-old rapper was in “grave condition” after suffering a heart attack at his home in New York
The rapper also starred in “Exit Wounds” with Steven Seagal and “Cradle 2 the Grave” with Li.
DMX was born in Mount Vernon, New York, on Dec. 18, 1970. He was raised in nearby Yonkers and endured a difficult childhood, including suffering beatings at the hands of his mother, according to reports. A father of 15, his longstanding battle with addiction has been well documented. DMX said he got addicted to crack cocaine when he was just 14 years old after smoking a joint laced with it.
Five years ago, the rapper was found unresponsive in a hotel parking lot in Yonkers. He was resuscitated by first responders and given Narcan before being taken to the hospital. At the time, DMX said his collapse was because of an asthma attack.
Years later, his struggle continued. He canceled a series of shows to check himself into a rehabilitation facility in 2019. In an Instagram post, his team said he was sorry for the cancellations and thanked his fans for the continued support.
His fans have stood by him. Last year, DMX faced off against Snoop Dogg in a Verzuz battle, which drew more than 500,000 viewers.
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