NEW YORK (CBSLA/AP) — Rapper DMX died Friday after suffering a heart attack last week at his White Plains, New York home. He was 50.
The Grammy-nominated performer, whose real name is Earl Simmons, died after suffering “catastrophic cardiac arrest,” according to the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he died. He had been on life support for the past week. He was rushed there from his home on April 2.
A statement from relatives said he died “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,” the family said, adding that his music “inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever.”
Memorial plans were not yet set.
The rapper had struggled with drug addiction since his teenage years. His lawyer, Murray Richman, had earlier said he could not confirm reports that DMX overdosed.
Over the past week, DMX received an outpouring of support from performers like Missy Elliott, Ja Rule and LL Cool J — who all posted messages of support on social media. Following his death, Lakers star LeBron James also took to Twitter to honor DMX, calling him a legend.
❌4L!! Rest In Paradise LEGEND!! 🐕🐕 pic.twitter.com/Y0m0DVl5Up
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 9, 2021
— T.I. (@Tip) April 9, 2021
RIP DMX. I pray for the comfort of your children and loved ones. 🙏🏿💛 pic.twitter.com/WC5LsaL9j8
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) April 9, 2021
Simmons was born in Mount Vernon, New York, to Arnett Simmons and Joe Barker. He was raised in nearby Yonkers, New York, in the Jehovah’s Witness faith.
He got his start in the music industry in 1984, but he got his big break in 1998 with his major-label debut single, “Get at Me Dog,” on Def Jam records. His first major-label record, “It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot,” was released that May and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S.
His follow-up albums, “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “… And Then There Was X,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ” also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S. under the Deaf Jam record label.
He released seven albums, earned three Grammy nominations and was named favorite rap/hip-hop artist at the 2000 American Music Awards.
DMX arrived on the rap scene around the same time as Jay-Z, Ja Rule and others who dominated the charts and emerged as platinum-selling acts. They were all part of rap crews, too: DMX fronted the Ruff Ryders collective, which helped launch the careers of Grammy winners Eve and Swizz Beatz, and relaunch The Lox, formerly signed to Bad Boy Records. Ruff Ryders had success on the charts and on radio with its “Ryde or Die” compilation albums
But Simmons’ career was marked by sporadic stints in jail for offenses including resisting arrest, animal cruelty, reckless driving, unlicensed driving, drug possession and identity falsification. He had also spoken openly about his battle with drug addiction.
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 his home.
In 2010, he was sentenced to a year in prison for violating terms of his probation. 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.
A couple years later, DMX was sentenced to a year in prison for tax fraud. Prosecutors said he concocted a multiyear scheme to hide millions of dollars in income from the IRS and get around nearly $2 million in tax liabilities.
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 canceled a series of shows to check himself into a rehab facility in 2019. In an Instagram post, his team said he apologized for the canceled shows and thanked his fans for the continued support.
Besides his legal troubles, DMX took the initiative to help the less fortunate. He gave a group of Philadelphia men advice during a surprise appearance at a homeless support group meeting in 2017, and helped a Maine family with its back-to-school purchases a couple years later.
Last year, DMX faced off against Snoop Dogg in a Verzuz battle, which drew more than 500,000 viewers.
He is survived by his 15 children and mother.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)