DMX, Iconic Rap Star, Dead at 50 After Overdose Hospitalization

DMX, real name Earl Simmons, passed away Friday after a reported drug overdose on April 2, 2021. TMZ broke the initial news at the time and said that the suspected overdose occurred at 11 p.m. in his home, leading to a heart attack. Family and friends of the iconic late '90s rap star held out hope for close to a week that he might recover, but that never came.

DMX's team shared a statement with PEOPLE magazine Friday morning announcing that the musician had passed, which was also confirmed by Entertainment Tonight and BET: "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. 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," they continued. "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."

The rapper, whose stage name stands for Dark Man X, was taken to a White Plains, New York hospital and placed in the critical care unit after the April 2 health incident. Conflicting reports had floated out before his passing, with TMZ highlighting that the rapper may have had, "some brain activity." At the same time, another source claimed he's in a "vegetative state." Most reports indicated the situation was indeed grave before the worst was confirmed.

DMX started his career in the early '90s before releasing It's Dark and Hell Is Hot in 1998, his debut LP. He became the face of the Ruff Ryders after the album's success, partly due to the track "Ruff Ryders Anthem" and his success as one of the hip-hop collective's original stars. Other artists include The LOX, Eve, Swizz Beatz and more.

DMX followed his debut with Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood in December 1998 and his top-selling ...And Then There Was X the following year, featuring the hit "Party Up (Up In Here)." The rapper also maintained a successful acting career at the time, making appearances in several action films like Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave with Jet Li, Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal. He also had a starring role in Hype Williams Belly alongside other major rap names of the '90s like Nas and Method Man.

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The later part of his career was a mix of trouble and viral fame for the rapper. DMX had several run-ins with the law throughout his career, facing animal cruelty and weapons charges in 1998, he spent time behind bars for violating parole and outstanding child support. The lengthiest stay in prison came in 2018 after DMX was charged with 14 counts of federal tax fraud. The rapper failed to file income tax returns from 2010 through 2015, ending up pleading guilty to one charge. He ended up spending a year in prison and was remanded to jail before his conviction after leaving a court-ordered drug program early.

His health has also been a subject of concern over the years, including his open admittance on addiction to crack cocaine and his mental health. DMX has a close call in 2016 after being found unresponsive in a Ramada Inn parking lot near Yonkers, New York. Authorities found no illegal substances and revived the rapper, giving him Narcan in the process before transferring him to a local hospital. He blamed an asthma attack for the incident. It is unknown if there is any connection between this event and the overdose that led to his passing. He was 50.