Hip Hop Icon DMX Has Died At Age 50

Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images.
Hip hop titan DMX ((real name Earl Simmons) has died at the age of 50 years old. Simmons' family shared the tragic news of his passing in an official 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,” the statement reads. "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 was born in Baltimore, Maryland but raised in Yonkers, New York, where he experienced a particularly traumatic childhood in an abusive home. He started beatboxing and writing his own songs in his youth, the arsenal of music coming in handy when Simmons was finally able to make his official debut on the rap scene in 1998 as a signed Def Jam artist. His first album It's Dark and Hell is Hot debuted at the top to the Billboard 200 chart and made him a name to watch in the industry.
In the following years, Simmons rocketed to the top of the hip hop ranks with the release of subsequent albums — his discography has been nominated for several Grammys, American Music Awards, and MTV Video Music Awards — but that success would unfortunately be mired by his consistent legal problems; the rapper served various jail sentences for felonies like animal cruelty and drug possession. Most recently, he spent a year behind bars for tax fraud but was released in January 2019.
After his release, Simmons was eyeing a return to the music industry following his re-signing to Def Jam Records. During his comeback, he openly discussing various topics like his Christian faith, the startling origins of his substance abuse, and the trajectory of his storied career.
The unfortunate development comes just one week after TMZ revealed that the rapper had been rushed to a hospital after suffering a severe heart attack in his White Plains, New York home. The outlet claimed that his severe condition was drug-related, caused by an overdose of an unspecified drug. DMX was reportedly unresponsive in the hospital; he had to be resuscitated and then put on life support while in a comatose state.
The people closest to the rapper were forthcoming about the gravity of his situation, revealing that Simmons was in a precarious position. Initially, there was some confusion about Simmons’ state in the ICU; his lawyer Murray Richman said that he had been taken off of life support and was breathing on his own but walked back that update, claiming that he had been misinformed. Former manager Nakia Walker confirmed to  BuzzFeed News that Simmons was actually in a “vegetative state” after incurring “lung and brain failure” during his heart attack. After a week on life support, Simmons died.
In the aftermath of his passing, Simmons' family is asking for privacy and respect in this time. They hope that fans will remember the rapper and his legacy in hip hop fondly.
"Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end," concluded the family's statement. "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.”

More from Music

R29 Original Series