The saddest possible conclusion to last week’s news of DMX’s emergency hospitalization has materialized. Despite many many prayers, good thoughts, and positive energy that were sent his way, DMX’s team is reporting that the iconic rough-voiced rapper has died.
Last Friday, DMX had been found unresponsive at his home in White Plains, NY, after a suspected overdose. DMX was put on life support and it was reported that he had “some brain activity.” DMX never got better, and yesterday, there were conflicting reports that he had died. Today, DMX’s team released a statement confirming that he has passed away. via XXL:
“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.”
DMX was born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, NY in 1970, and had a bad childhood that included child abuse and trauma (he was arrested for the first time at age 10). He started rapping in his very early 20s, writing and performing for kids at a local rec center. After two stints in prison, he decided to take his rap career seriously, selling mixtapes in his neighborhood, and building a fan base around New York. In 1992 he was signed to Columbia Records and was later released, but he continued to pop up here and there on other rapper’s projects. But in 1998, after getting signed with Def Jam, he released his first major-label album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot. I was in high school at the time, and had no business being a DMX fan, but when I tell you that “Ruff Ryders Anthem” spoke to me in a way that only Blink-182 had previously spoken to me, well, you’ll just have to take my word for it. It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot got so much play in the art room, I’m almost positive it had a permanent home in the acrylic paint cabinet. DMX followed that up with Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, which XXL says helped DMX become the first artist to put out two platinum albums in the same year.
…And Then There Was X was released a year later, and that’s likely where a lot of people became familiar with DMX. It got two Grammy nominations, for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance). DMX would go on to be nominated for three Grammy awards during his career.
The late 90s/early 2000s were huge for DMX, and not just because of music. He made a really successful transition to acting, appearing in the very underrated Belly (please watch it just for the 2000s-era fashions alone), Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds, the very fun Cradle 2 The Grave, made guest spots on Moesha, Eve, South Park, MadTV, and he played himself in an episode of Fresh Off The Boat.
But he also had some really dark spots in his personal life, like a 2008 arrest for animal cruelty after reports that he was fighting dogs at his home (he later pleaded guilty to the animal cruelty charge). He also had a record that included arrests for drug possession, resisting arrest, reckless driving. In 2018 he spent about a year in prison on a tax evasion charge.
DMX was very honest and open about addiction, substance abuse, and subsequent sobriety. Last year, DMX was scheduled to go on tour, but pulled out and checked into a treatment center in an attempt to stay healthy.
DMX is survived by his fifteen children, the youngest of which is nearly 5 years old. He was married once, to the mother of four of his children and his childhood friend, Tashera Simmons. He claimed that they remained friends even after they got divorced.
And it takes massive talent to be able to make people cry one minute with a song about missing your cherished grandmother, and then have those same people go absolutely wild just seconds later when that referee whistle starts blasting at the beginning of “Party Up (Up In Here).”