After spending seven days on life support as a result of a heart attack, DMX has been pronounced dead on April 9. He was 50.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” said the family in a statment. “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.”
TMZ reported on April 2 that the Baltimore-born, Yonkers raised rapper’s brain was deprived of oxygen for nearly 30 minutes. On Wednesday (April 7), a series of battery tests were performed to determine the level of brain function after multiple sources informed the outlet of “little brain activity.”
Vigils and support from fans and celebrities poured in over the weekend when the news first broke of his heart attack. From prayer vigils in his hometown and outside of DMX’s White Plains, New York hospital to LL Cool J, Missy Elliot, and many more showing the “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” rapper love, support, and prayers.
The Grammy-nominated artist was born Earl Simmons on December 18, 1970, in Baltimore, MD. Raised by an abusive single mother, Simmons was sent to a boys’ home where he and the students bonded over their shared love for hip hop. During a 2019 interview with GQ, the rap icon spoke to his upbringings with the outlet stating that “[My mother] beat two teeth out of my f—–g mouth with a broom.” Nonetheless, “That doesn’t mean I don’t love her.”
“I think a lot of people struggle with forgiving their parents,” said Simmons while speaking of being able to love and forgive his mother despite the abuse. “In fact, I personally struggle with forgiving my parents. But until you learn how to forgive others, you can’t forgive yourself. You can’t forgive yourself if you don’t know how to forgive.”
The name DMX originated from the instrument he used at the boys’ home, the Oberheim DMX drum machine, which later was interpreted as “Dark Man X.” The Grammy-nominated artist released his debut album “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot” in 1998 selling 251,000 copies during its first week and quickly became a household name. Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, the multiplatinum-selling album included “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” and “Stop Being Greedy.”
Of the seven albums Simmons released, four became chart-topping successes including “…And Then There Was X,” and “Flesh of My Flesh.” His over two-decade career earned him three Grammy nominations and two American Music Awards for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist.
The multi-platinum selling artist made his feature acting debut the same year he released his debut solo album. Starring opposite Nas in the Hype Williams directed crime drama Belly, he later appeared in Romeo Must Die with Jet Li and the late Aaliyah where they also teamed up to create the film’s soundtrack song, Come Back in One Piece.
DMX has been candid about his addiction to crack cocaine which began at the young age of 14. In 2020, as a guest on Talib Kweli‘s People’s Party show, he disclosed that his addiction began when his mentor gave him a crack-laced blunt without his knowledge.
“He passed the blunt around and… I hit the blunt,” recounted an emotional Simmons at the time. “I never felt like this before it f—-d me up. I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack… Why would you do that to a child? He was like 30 and he knew I looked up to him. Why would you do that to someone who looks up to you?”
Simmons was married to Tashera Simmons in 1999 until she announced their separation while he was incarcerated in July 2010. He is survived by his 15 children.