Hip hop icon DMX, the first musician in history to have his first five albums reach number one on the US Billboard chart, has died at the age of 50.
The rapper, who was born Earl Simmons, suffered a heart attack on April 2 and spent the last week on life support at White Plains Hospital in New York.
“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,” his family said in a statement.
“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 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 finalised.”
The hospital extended its “deepest condolences” to his family, friends and “legions of fans”. It described the incident on April 2 as a “catastrophic cardiac arrest”.
According to TMZ, DMX was deprived of oxygen for nearly 30 minutes and had to be resuscitated after arriving in the ICU. He had “little brain activity” afterwards.
News of his death came just hours after ‘RIP DMX’ prematurely trended on Twitter – a misunderstanding sparked by one famous friend paying tribute to the rapper, which many mistakenly interpreted as her confirming his death.
DMX first rose to fame with his 1998 album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, which debuted at number one and sold more than five million copies. The album included the famous single Ruff Ryders Anthem.
Seven months later, his second album Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood also debuted at the top of the charts, putting him in rarefied company as one of the few artists to ever release two number one albums in the same year.
Sadly, DMX struggled with drug addiction throughout his life, which led to criminal charges, plus a brush with death in 2016, when he was found without a pulse in a parking lot.
In October of 2019, DMX announced he had checked himself into a rehab facility as part of his “commitment to putting family and sobriety first”.
His fellow musicians paid tribute to him after the tragic news of his death today.
We lost him y’all. Mr. Earl Simmons (Dec. 18, 1970 – April 9, 2021), known by his stage name DMX (“Dark Man X”), was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. Prayers going out to his family & friends! R.I.P. our dear brother. Bootsy baby!!!🤩 pic.twitter.com/H2Wt5JfUfa
— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) April 9, 2021