DMX Dead at 50

The rap hero had been on life support for a week after suffering an apparent drug overdose
DMX Dead at 50
Photo courtesy of @shotbyjacques
Following a heart attack late last week, DMX has died. The veteran rap hero was hospitalized on April 2 as the result of an apparent drug overdose, leaving him in a coma in hospital. DMX was 50. 

The family of the rapper born Earl Simmons has issued the following statement:

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. 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.

A press release confirming DMX's passing also added a statement from staff at White Plains Hospital, reading: "Earl Simmons passed away peacefully with family present after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest."  

As previously reported, Simmons suffered an apparent overdosed on April 2 and later slipped into a coma following a heart attack. He was then taken to the critical care unit of a hospital in White Plains, NY, where he remained in a "vegetative state" until his death.

While doctors conducted brain function tests earlier this week, they sadly found no activity.

UPDATE (4/9, 2:30 p.m. ET): You can read tributes to DMX here from the likes of Eve, Killer Mike, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Nas, Vince Staples, Bootsy Collins, Missy Elliott and more.

DMX was born Earl Simmons in 1970 in Baltimore, though he spent much of his early life in Yonkers, NY. His rap career began in the early '90s, when DMX emerged with a rough, raspy rapping style that would become his trademark.

Following a string of singles and guest spots, DMX released his proper debut album It's Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998. The record was a massive success both commercially and critically, with the album selling 251,000 copies within its first week of release.

In 1998, DMX followed this up with Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood and then 1999's ... And Then There Was X, which again proved to be a massive hit for the artist and spawned such hits as "Party Up (Up in Here)" and "What's My Name."

DMX then went on to release a string of albums over the years, including 2001's The Great Depression, 2003's Grand Champ, 2006's Year of the Dog... Again, 2012's Undisputed and finally 2015's Redemption of the Beast.

In the months before his death, DMX has also been teasing a new as-yet-untitled album, and earlier today, the song "X Moves" was released, presumably part of the project. The song features Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins, Yes guitarist Steve Howe and Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice.  

Beyond his music career, DMX worked as an actor and appeared in multiple films over the years, including Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 the Grave and Last Hour. In 2006, he also starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man, and in 2013, he released a memoir called E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX.

DMX was open about both his personal struggles and his long battle with substance abuse. In 2015, DMX was sentenced to prison for not paying child support. In 2018, he was then sentenced to a year a prison for tax evasion — something that appeared to lead the artist on a more positive path moving forward.

Last year, DMX opened up about his addiction issues while speaking to Talib Kweli, saying at the time: "Drugs were a symptom of a bigger problem. There were things that I went through in my childhood where I just blocked it out — but there's only so much you can block out before you run out of space.

"I really didn't have anybody to talk to about it. So often talking about your problems is viewed as a sign of weakness. When it's actually one of the bravest things you can do."