Rapper DMX dead at 50

The raspy-voice American MC died after spending several days on life support, his family said


Multi-platinum rapper and actor DMX has died after being hospitalized following an April 2 heart attack. He was 50.

The artist born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, New York was rushed to hospital after collapsing at home. Reports have suggested the heart attack was the result of a drug overdose.

His family has released 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.”

DMX had a history of childhood abuse and neglect, and a string of teenage years where he was in and out of juvenile homes for troubled youth. It was at a low moment in one of those homes that he began writing songs, channeling his past history of dysfunction into something positive.

After a short stint with Columbia, the raspy-voiced MC landed on DefJam Recordings for the 1998 albums It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot and Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood. His mainstream breakthrough came a year later with the smashes Party Up and What’s My Name propelling the full-length ...And Then There Was X to multi-platinum status.

In March 1999, he performed at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto as part of the Hard Knock Life Tour with Jay-Z, Method Man and Redman. The tour grossed a record $18 million and is still considered one of the most successful hip-hop tours in history.

DefJam Recordings commented on his death with this statement:

“The extended Def Jam family of artists, executives and employees are deeply and profoundly saddened by the loss of our brother Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons. DMX was a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world. His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and were touched by him. DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever.”

In recent years DMX gravitated to acting in projects like Cradle 2 The Grave, and Romeo Must Die and the Hamilton-shot Exit Wounds.

Over the course of his life DMX fathered 15 children, with his most recent born in 2016. He also was open about his addiction problems, including an ongoing battle with crack cocaine. In 2016, the rapper and actor was found collapsed in a hotel parking lot in Yonkers, something he later attributed to an asthma attack.

His battles with the law continued well into his adult years, as he was charged with animal cruelty more than once, and did time for marijuana possession, reckless driving, and failure to pay child support.

Last summer, DMX appeared alongside Snoop Dogg as part of a Verzuz, the battle series on Instagram launched during the pandemic by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz.

While often troubled, he also leaves behind an impressive rap legacy.

Here’s what his peers are saying about him today:

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight. With files from NOW staff.

@nowtoronto

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