Rapper DMX Dead at 50 After Week on Life Support: ‘A Warrior Who Fought Till the Very End’
John Lamparski/GettyThe rapper DMX, who left his gritty mark on hip-hop with the 1990s hits “Party Up,” “X Gon’ Give it to Ya,” and “Get at Me Dog,” has died nearly a week after a heart attack caused by a suspected drug overdose, according to a family statement given to PEOPLE. He was 50.“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,” the statement said. “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.”When DMX Was the King of Hip-HopHe had been on life support for almost a week. “It does not look good,” attorney Murray Richman had said on Saturday as the rapper’s family gathered in hospital. He was said to be in a vegetative state.In a statement, White Plains Hospital expressed condolences to DMX’s family and fans, and said he “passed away peacefully with family present after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest.”DMX paved the way for many of today’s most successful rappers, helping bring rap music to mainstream audiences in the 1990s. “Everybody knows the basics,” Daily Beast contributor Stereo Williams wrote on the 20th anniversary of DMX’s debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.“1997 was the year of shiny-suit dominance via sparkly videos from Puffy and Ma$e; the rapper born Earl Simmons growled his way through the dancey-flossin’ anthems to reassert hardcore hip-hop in the mainstream.”Born in Yonkers, New York, and sent to live in a group home by his mother, DMX spent his teens on the streets, carving out a reputation as a stick-up robber and a battle rapper before being signed by Def Jam.His first five albums debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, and he earned three Grammy nominations. He was also a prolific actor, appearing in a number of films including the 1998 crime drama Belly with hip-hop stars Nas and Method Man. He also starred alongside Steven Seagal in the 2000 film Exit Wings and with Jet Li in the 2003 crime thriller Cradle 2 the Grave. Amid his success, he battled substance abuse, and he was soon making headlines for bad behavior instead of his music. In 2004, he and another man broke into the parking lot of New York’s Kennedy Airport, claimed to be an FBI agent, and then stole a man’s car. When police caught up to him, they found crack cocaine, painkillers, and a gun.In 2015, he was sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay child support for some of his 15 children; his youngest child, Exodus, was born in 2016. He served a one-year sentence in 2018 for tax evasion. DMX canceled a number of shows in 2019 after checking himself into a rehab facility. When word that he was in the hospital, on life support, broke this weekend, a galaxy of hip-hop stars—from Missy Elliott to L.L. Cool J— paid tribute.“I love DMX SO MUCH. Praying hard for the king,” Sza tweeted. “Pull through, my dude,” Ice T urged.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.