Music | April 9, 2021 2:19 pm

Rapper DMX Dead at 50

The multi-platinum rapper was hospitalized last week following a drug overdose

DMX
Rapper DMX performs in concert during his 20th Anniversary "It's Dark and Hell is Hot" tour at The Tabernacle on April 12, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
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After being hospitalized on April 2 following an apparent drug overdose and subsequent heart attack, rapper DMX — real name Earl Simmons — has reportedly died at the age of 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,” his family wrote in a statement. “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.”

Simmons spent much of his early life in Yonkers, N.Y. coping with abuse and living in group homes. He first enjoyed breakout musical success in 1998 with his albums It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. He followed that up the following year with the massively popular and critically beloved …And Then There Was X, which included hits like “Party Up (Up In Here)” and “What’s My Name” and was certified five-times platinum. He also appeared in films like Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 the Grave.

He was not without his share of controversy, however, thanks to a litany of arrests on charges including animal cruelty, reckless driving, drug possession, resisting arrest, unlicensed driving and tax fraud. He was sentenced to a year in prison on the latter charge in 2018, and he was released in early 2019.

Simmons was open about his struggles with substance abuse throughout the years. “Drugs were a symptom of a bigger problem,” he told Talib Kweli on his People’s Party With Talib Kweli podcast in late 2020. “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. 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.”