The inimitable rap icon was hospitalized after suffering an apparent drug overdose and subsequent heart attack on Friday, April 2

DMX
Earl Simmons aka DMX, March 2016 (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

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.

Born Earl Simmons in Baltimore, Maryland, DMX spent much of his early life in Yonkers, New York. He experienced a turbulent childhood, growing up in an abusive household and spending time in boys’ homes and, later, juvenile institutions. It was during his time at one of those boys’ homes that he started writing music, eventually linking up with producer Ready Ron.

DMX’s signature raspy growl—partially caused by a lifelong struggle with bronchial asthma—made his songs instantly recognizable. He broke into the wider music industry at large after The Source featured him in its “Unsigned Hype” column. The following year, he signed to Columbia’s Ruffhouse imprint, though he was dropped after a pair of singles. After some years of promo tracks and guest spots, he was signed to Def Jam, setting him up for his breakout projects: It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, both of which arrived in 1998.

His 1999 album …And Then There Was X went multi-platinum off the success of the singles “Party Up” and “What’s My Name.” In addition to his slew of hits, DMX also became a film star, appearing in Romeo Must Die (alongside Aaliyah), Exit WoundsCradle 2 the Grave, and more. His last album Undisputed was issued in 2012. He released his most recent single “Bain Iz Back” at the beginning of 2017.

DMX was open about his struggles with addiction, as well as the time he spent incarcerated. In 2018, he was sentenced to a year in prison for tax evasion. Following his release in early 2019, the rapper re-signed with Def Jam and was readying an album with multiple high-profile features. In September of that year, he told GQ that he didn’t have any reservations about making new music. “The standard that I hold myself to is the same: Better than everything I hear,” he said.

Months after a landmark VERZUZ appearance with Snoop Dogg, DMX discussed addiction with rapper Talib Kweli in an emotional late 2020 interview on the latter’s podcast, People’s Party With Talib Kweli. “Drugs were a symptom of a bigger problem,” he told Kweli. “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,” he said. “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.”

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