Earl Simmons, aka DMX, the superstar rapper known for his gruff delivery and emotional songs, has died at age 50.
The Grammy-nominated Hip-Hop artist had been in White Plains Hospital since Friday, April 2nd, after suffering a heart attack that left him in a coma with very little brain activity.
It was reported by TMZ on April 3 that Simmons was in critical condition, on life support in a hospital in White Plains, New York, following a cardiac arrest that may have been caused by a drug overdose. Simmons’s attorney, Murray Richman, released a statement saying DMX had been removed from life support and was breathing on his own, but Richman later explained that he had been misinformed. Reports indicated that rapper was in a vegetative state with lung and brain failure and no brain activity, the result of suffering oxygen deprivation to his brain for 30 minutes at time of his heart attack. Simmons also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 since being admitted to the hospital. On April 7, it was revealed that his brain functionality had not improved, after strenuous testing.
The family has issued a statement:
"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. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.”
Born in nearby Mt. Vernon, Earl Simmons grew up in Yonkers, New York. He spent much of his troubled youth in and out of institutions, but found a voice as an up-and-coming battle rapper in Yonkers. By the early 1990s, Simmons, now going by "Dark Man X," had tremendous street buzz, even appearing in the Source's famed "Unsigned Hype" column. His friend Irv Gotti sent his demo to Def Jam impresario Lyor Cohen, who would sign DMX to the label. X would go on to become one of the biggest stars in Def Jam -- and Hip-Hop -- history.
His debut album It's Dark and Hell Is Hot made him the hottest rapper of 1998, and he released another No. 1 seller at the end of that year, Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood. He would release several more chart-topping albums and monster singles like "Ruff Ryders Anthem" and "Party Up" throughout his career, while also carving out a name for himself in Hollywood. X starred in movies like Romeo Must Die, Belly and Cradle 2 The Grave.
His influence on a generation of artists is massive. As one of the most iconic rappers of his time, he was a part of a wave of artists who ushered in Hip-Hop's all-out dominance of popular culture in the early 2000s. He's survived by his mother, fiancee and children. He leaves behind a body of work that stands as testament to his talents as an artist and to his reach as a cultural figure.
Rock The Bells offers condolences to the family and loved ones of Earl Simmons.