DMX, hip-hop superstar, dies at 50

Tyler Aquilina
·3 min read

DMX, the rapper known for such hits as "X Gon' Give It to Ya" and "Party Up (Up in Here)," has died after he was hospitalized following a drug overdose last week. He was 50. News of his death at White Plains Hospital in New York was confirmed Friday in a statement from his family.

"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," they wrote in a statement provided to EW.

They added, "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."

Prince Williams/Wireimage

DMX struggled with substance abuse for many years, and was open about his battle with addiction. Most recently, the rapper canceled a series of concerts in order to check into a rehab facility in 2019, citing an "ongoing commitment to putting family and sobriety first."

Known for his distinctive snarling vocals and aggressive style, DMX found massive success as a rapper despite a turbulent, troubled lifestyle. His first five albums, beginning with 1998's It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, all debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, a milestone he remains the only rapper ever to have achieved. He was also known for his acting performances in films including Belly, Cradle 2 the Grave, Romeo Must Die, and Exit Wounds.

Cradle 2 the Grave: Claudette Barius DMX and Gabrielle Union in 'Cradle 2 the Grave'

Born Earl Simmons in Westchester County, New York in 1970, DMX led a difficult life from an early age. His mother frequently abused him, knocking out two of his teeth when he was six years old. He suffered from bronchial asthma, and has said he was taken to the emergency room almost every night as a child. In an interview in 2020, he revealed that his addiction began when he was just 14 years old, when he unknowingly smoked a blunt laced with crack cocaine, given to him by his mentor.

DMX also faced legal difficulties and personal struggles throughout his adult life. He was arrested dozens of times on numerous charges, including drug possession, animal abuse, and robbery. He spent much of his life in and out of prison, most recently in 2018 for tax evasion. But his legal issues belied a devout Christian faith and a sensitivity that often came across in interviews.

"Performing in front of people is beyond a high. It's beyond a high that any drug could duplicate," he told GQ in 2019. "Just being onstage, period, and knowing that there's so much love out there. I pray before I go onstage with everyone in the room. And I end my show with a prayer onstage. And I'd say maybe 65 percent of the time that I get offstage, I'm so emotionally overwhelmed, I just break down.... I'm like, 'Who am I to deserve this?' We all bleed the same blood."

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