The rapper, whose real name was Earl Simmons, was rushed to a hospital in White Plains, New York, on April 2 after suffering a heart attack. His family confirmed his death in a statement on Friday.
Simmons made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. He has released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations. DMX also built a career as an actor, appearing in more than a dozen movies and TV shows.
Music label Def Jam Recordings said in a statement to USA TODAY that it was “deeply and profoundly saddened by the loss of our brother” and called the rapper “a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world.”
“His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and were touched by him. DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever,” the statement read.
Tashera Simmons, DMX’s ex-wife, commemorated her 50th birthday on Saturday with a series of photo tributes to the late rapper.
“Crying and a roller coaster of emotions. I couldn’t bring myself to just celebrate and close the last 50 yrs of my life with out celebrating the life of one of thee most important person in the world to me, my Ex-husband,” Simmons wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption.
She added: “Everything we went through was necessary. It made me the women I am today. As I enter a new chapter in life, I don’t walk in it the same. Life is so fragile and special at the same time! … It’s a very tuff time right now for me and my family but I learned from one of the strongest men I knew. We will get through.”
Simmons and DMX met when they were 18 and were married from 1999 to 2014. They share four children: Xavier Simmons, Tacoma Simmons, Shawn Simmons and Praise Mary Ella Simmons.
DMX’s Ruff Ryders family shared prayers and praise.
“I’m so happy my brother is no longer in pain,” wrote Swizz Beatz, in a message and tribute video on Instagram. “I watched him take everyone’s pain and make it his own 🙏🏽 I send my love and support to his entire family 🙏🏽 My brother we will never let them forget your name and you will live forever.”
Rapper Eve wrote that she knows DMX is now “in the place of peace you deserve.”
“I will be forever grateful to have known you. You were one of the most special people I have ever met. Full of Humour, talent, wisdom and love and most of all loyalty. This world has lost a REAL ONE but the heavens have gained an ANGEL,” she shared on Instagram.
Joaquin “Waah” Dean, who co-founded Ruff Ryders Entertainment with his siblings, said DMX “will always be my brother for life.” In an Instagram tribute, Dean added: “May god bless you and take you into his paradise… Let’s celebrate the dog for all the work he put in here. My dog for life RR.”
DMX’s memorable lyrics and quotes about hip-hop, family, addiction and faith
Diane Haughton, the mother of the late singer Aaliyah, wrote a touching message on Instagram. DMX and the R&B singer costarred in “Romeo Must Die” and the rapper appeared in a posthumous music video for Aaliyah’s “Miss You.”
“Earl you had and still have a heart of gold. You and Baby Girl will meet again with all the beautiful people we have lost. Will never forget your kindness. NEVER! Blessing to your family! Eternally!” Haughton wrote.
Fat Joe called his passing “one of the most saddest days in Hip Hop.”
“God bless you X your music will live forever and we’ll never forget you or the impact you’ve had in the game,” the fellow New York rapper wrote in an Instagram tribute.
Missy Elliott shared that the news is “heavy” for the hip hop family. “Even though you had battles you TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC and when you would PRAY so many people FELT THAT!” she wrote on Twitter.
Snoop Dogg, who battled DMX during Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s popular web series “Verzuz” in July 2020, said the “battle ended up being a family reunion Of 2 Doggs who loved everything about each other.”
“thank. U. X for loving me back. C u when I get there,” Snoop Dogg captioned footage from the battle on Instagram. In another post, he added: “Love u brother.”
LL Cool J remembered his past collaborator as a “unique soul,” adding that his “music will be here 1,000 years from now and the fire, passion, pain and positive energy you put into every word.”
“You did everything you came to do. You impacted the world,” LL Cool J wrote in an Instagram tribute. “You went from the underdog to the Big Dog. I’m honored we got to work together.”
Author Ibram X. Kendi shared that “DMX helped me locate my inner self as a teenager.” He added, “I hope he’s now able to locate the inner spirit of eternity. Rest forever, X. We will miss you dearly.”
Actress Halle Berry said “His gift meant so much to so many. Sending love to his family,” on Twitter.
Actress Viola Davis also shared condolences. “RIP DMX. I pray for the comfort of your children and loved ones.”
“No words right now. Nothing but fierce love, prayers and protection for X’s family, friends and fans. This loss is devastating,” wrote Gabrielle Union on Twitter.
Union extended her tribute on Instagram, sharing that the two “bonded over our shared love of dogs, cold beers, Golden Girls reruns, New Edition and adventures.”
“I am forever grateful for your joy, your laugh, your protection all these years and your hugs anytime I’ve seen you. You are 1 of 1. Rest in eternal peace my friend. Rest,” she concluded her post and included a photo of the friends looking at each other.
‘Everybody has an X story’: Rap legend DMX remembered by local New Yorkers
Nas shared a video on Instagram of DMX reciting a poem and captioned the post: “Gods Poet. I Love You.”
Ice T said “Very Very Very few will EVER do it like you homie.”
T.I. tweeted, “There are no words that can mend the loss the hip-hop community felt today.”
“Too young, too early,” shared singer Kehlani. “Leaving endless trails of inspiration behind him. rest easy legend.”
“Rest in Heaven DMX,” wrote Chance the Rapper.
“RIP DMX one of my favorite rappers ever. The impact will never be forgotten !!” wrote rapper Russ.
“The thing about DMX is that he was authentic,” David Rodriguez, executive producer of Newark’s NJPAC, who presented the artist four times over the last 10 years, both in Newark and at Radio City Music Hall, told NorthJersey.com, part of the USA TODAY Network.
“His words came from his heart. The dedication he had to his music was similar to his fans’ dedication to him. No matter what he might have been going through, his fans really stayed by his side. There was truly something special when DMX hit the stage. He entered, and you could just feel the energy go up three notches. There was no way to ignore him when he hit the stage.”
Contributing: Jim Beckerman, USA TODAY Network