‘He fought to the end’: Grammy-nominated rapper DMX dies after cardiac arrest

Rapper DMX has died one week after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest”, his family has said.

The 50-year-old, whose real name was Earl Simmons, had been admitted to intensive care in New York on Friday 2 April and was initially placed on life support.

Earlier this week, family, friends and fans had held a vigil outside the hospital.

In a statement announcing his death, his family said relatives had been by his side and described him as “a warrior who fought till the very end”.

Paying tribute, they said: “He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him.” His music, they added, “inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever”.

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DMX was nominated for several Grammy awards. Pic: mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX

DMX was signed by Columbia Records in 1992 and released his first album, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, in 1998.

It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 albums, and featured hits such as Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, Stop Being Greedy, and Get At Me Dog.

He followed that album up with four more chart-topping albums in a row – And Then There Was X; Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood; The Great Depression; and Grand Champ.

His 2003 track X Gon’ Give It To Ya has been used extensively across the world in sports, films, games and on TV.

In all, DMX released seven albums and received three Grammy nominations throughout his career, and collaborated with artists including Jay-Z, Ja Rule and LL Cool J.

Those rappers were all part of rap crews, with DMX heading up the Ruff Ryders collective, which featured Eve, Swizz Beatz and The Lox.

The group saw chart success too, with its Ryde or Die albums.

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DMX helped launch the careers of several musicians. Pic: AP

In 1998, he teamed up with the late Aaliyah on the soundtrack to the film Romeo Must Die – as well as starring in it.

He would later open her tribute music video for Miss You following her death, alongside Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, and Lil’ Kim.

But DMX was not just known for his trailblazing music career – he was affected by his brushes with the law.

Over a period of 10 years he was repeatedly arrested and jailed, and he suffered with a drug addiction.

In 2004, he pleaded guilty after he crashed his SUV through a security gate at New York’s Kennedy Airport while posing as an undercover federal agent.

Then, four years later, he was arrested on drug and animal cruelty charges after a raid on his house in Phoenix, and he attempted to barricade himself in his bedroom as a SWAT team entered his home.

Even though you had battles you TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC and when you would PRAY so many people FELT THAT! This is heavy for the HipHop family but your LEGACY LIVES ON & your SPIRIT. Continued Prayers for X family & friends for STRENGTH/HEALING🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/ZI9NI6Nslg

— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) April 9, 2021

In 2010, he was given a year in prison for violating the terms of his probation, before he was admitted to drug rehab several times over the following 12 months.

After his numerous trips to rehab, he announced that he had kicked his drug addiction – but then in 2016, first responders helped resuscitate the rapper in a New York hotel car park, with witnesses saying he ingested a substance before collapsing.

Two years later, he was given another year behind bars for tax fraud, with prosecutors saying he had thought up a multi-year scheme to hide millions in income.

Following his release from prison, DMX had a 32-date tour to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot – but the shows were cancelled as he checked himself into rehab once more.

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Aside from his legal troubles, he did give to those less fortunate.

In 2017, he appeared at a Philadelphia homeless support group to give advice, and a few years later, helped a family from Maine make its back-to-school purchases.

His most recent public appearance was alongside Snoop Dogg in a Verzuz Battle (an online DJ battle) – which more than 500,000 people watched.

He is survived by his 15 children and mother.