DMX, the raspy-voiced hip-hop artist who produced the songs Ruff Ryders’ Anthem and Party Up (Up in Here) has died, according to a statement from his family. He was 50.
- The cause of the heart attack that killed the rapper has not been released
- DMX was one of hip hop’s biggest stars in the 1990s and 200s
- He struggled throughout his life with drugs and crime
The Grammy-nominated performer died after suffering “catastrophic cardiac arrest”, according to a statement from the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he was being treated.
His family’s statement said DMX, whose birth name was Earl Simmons, died with relatives by his side after several days on life support.
“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 family said, adding that his music “inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever”.
The announcement prompted tributes from a who’s who of the hip hop scene, including Nas, Missy Elliott, Chance the Rapper, Talib Kweli, Q-Tip and many more.
After DMX was hospitalised, his long-time lawyer Murray Richman said he had suffered a heart attack but would not confirm what caused it.
DMX built a multi-platinum career as one of rap’s stars in the 1990s and early 2000s, but he also struggled with drug addiction and legal problems that repeatedly put him behind bars.
He made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The multi platinum-selling album was anchored by several hits including Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, Get At Me Dog, Stop Being Greedy and How It’s Goin’ Down.
DMX released seven albums, earned three Grammy nominations and was named favourite rap/hip hop artist at the 2000 American Music Awards.
He also acted in a number of films including 1998 crime drama Belly, 2000 hip hop martial arts crossover Romeo Must Die with Jet Li and Aaliyah, 2001′s Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal and 2003′s Cradle 2 the Grave, again with Li.
But while DMX made his mark in the entertainment business he was personally stifled by his legal battles.
DMX pleaded guilty in 2004 after he posed as an undercover federal agent and crashed his SUV through a security gate at New York’s Kennedy Airport.
He was arrested in 2008 on drug and animal cruelty charges following an overnight raid on his house in Phoenix. He tried to barricade himself in his bedroom but emerged when a SWAT team entered the home.
In 2010, he was sentenced to a year in prison for violating the terms of his probation and after he was admitted to rehab numerous times over the next year, he said he had finally beat his drug addiction.
First responders helped bring DMX back to life after he was found in a hotel parking lot in New York, in 2016. The rapper said he suffered from asthma.
He was then sentenced to a year in prison for tax fraud after prosecutors said he concocted a multiyear scheme to hide millions of dollars in income from the IRS.
After his release, DMX planned a 32-date tour to mark the 20th anniversary of It’s Dark and Hell is Hot. But the rapper cancelled a series of shows to check himself into a rehab facility in 2019.
Last year, DMX faced off against Snoop Dogg in a rap battle, which drew more than 500,000 viewers.
He is survived by his 15 children and his mother.