Rap legend DMX, a pinnacle of the ’90s and 2000s hip-hop scene, dies at 50 after heart attack

Rap legend DMX, known for being a pinnacle in the ’90s and 2000s hip-hop scene, died on Friday at age 50, according to a statement from his family given to The Associated Press.

“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.”

The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was rushed to a hospital in White Plains, New York on April 2 after suffering a heart attack.

On April 3, the rapper’s longtime New York-based lawyer Murray Richman told The Associated Press the hip-hop star was on life support but said he could not confirm reports that DMX overdosed on drugs and was not sure what caused the heart attack.

Memorial plans were not yet set.

The Ruff Ryders rapper has battled with drug addiction in the past and was last in rehab in 2019 after spending a year in prison for tax evasion, which the IRS had been pursuing him for since 2005.

Previously: DMX hospitalized in New York after apparent heart attack

DMX performs in Chicago on July 23, 2017. (Photo: Streeter Lecka, BIG3/Getty Images)

“In his ongoing commitment to putting family and sobriety first, DMX has checked himself into a rehab facility,” a statement on DMX’s Instagram read at the time. “He apologizes for his canceled shows and thanks his fans for their continued support.”

He first made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The multiplatinum selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog” and “Stop Being Greedy.”

The rapper had four other chart-topping albums including “… And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ.” He has released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations.

DMX also built a career as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film “Belly” and appeared in “Romeo Must Die” a couple years later with Jet Li and the singer Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for the film’s soundtrack song “Come Back in One Piece.”

DMX performs at Coachella on April 17, 2015. (Photo: Mark Davis)

The rapper also starred in “Exit Wounds” with Steven Seagal and “Cradle 2 the Grave” with Li.

DMX pleaded guilty to tax fraud in 2017 but was let out on bail until sentencing until it was revoked in 2018 after he failed to obey bail conditions requiring drug treatment and traveling with a counselor. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ordered the rapper to await his sentencing from behind bars.

Rakoff said he was told DMX tested positive for cocaine, opiates and Oxycodone and that he traveled to St. Louis without a drug counselor after Rakoff had gone “to extraordinary lengths to meet his needs and desires” so that DMX could continue performing and earning income to support his 15 children.

Besides his legal troubles, DMX worked 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.

Most recently, DMX battled fellow rapper Snoop Dogg during Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s popular web series “Verzuz” in July 2020.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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