By LISA RESPERS FRANCE
DMX, a rapper known as much for his troubles as his music, has died, his family announced in a statement. 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,” family’s statement read in part.
“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.”
The artist had been hospitalized since last week when he suffered a heart attack at his home in New York, according to his longtime attorney, Murray Richman.
Artists, athletes and other celebrities paid tribute to him on social media Friday.
“My childhood and love for music would not have been the same without this man,” actor Chriss Redd tweeted. “DMX was easily my favorite artist growing up. I had every album, every ruff Ryder song, followed any artist he endorsed. Man….RIP the dog. There will never be another like him.”
Dark Man X – known as DMX – began rapping in the early 1990s and released his debut album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, in 1998.
With the deaths of fellow rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur before he burst on the scene, DMX became one of the reigning stars of hardcore hip hop and was the premier artist signed to the Ruffhouse Records label.
His single, Ruff Ryders Anthem, helped to seal his critical and commercial success.
The rapper released several albums over the years, including one of his most commercially successful, “…And Then There Was X,” that was released in 1999 and was nominated for a Grammy in the best rap album category. It was one of three Grammy nominations for the rapper.
He sold millions of albums, boosted by hits like Get At Me Dog in 1998, Party Up, in 1999 and X Gon’ Give It to Ya, in 2003.
He parlayed his growing fame into an acting career, appearing in multiple films including, Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 The Grave.
His professional achievements were often overshadowed by his issues with substance abuse and run-ins with the law. He pleaded guilty to tax fraud in 2017 and was sentenced to one year in prison.
In 2019, DMX canceled a planned concert tour to seek treatment for addiction, saying at the time that he was “putting family and sobriety first.”
That same year he talked to GQ about his struggles.
“I just need to have a purpose,” he said. “And I don’t even know that purpose, because God has given me that purpose since before I was in the womb, so I’m going to fulfill that purpose … whether I want to or not, whether I know it or not, because the story has already been written. If you appreciate the good, then you have to accept the bad.”
More recently, DMX thrilled fans last year when he appeared in a Verzuz battle with fellow artist Snoop Dogg.