Byline By- Vinayak Heliwal
DMX, the hardcore hip-hop star whose ominous, snarling raps chronicled the violence and struggles of American street and his inner pain has died on Friday in White Plains, New York.
The rapper’s longtime lawyer confirmed DMX’s death, with a statement from his family saying that the artist Earl Simmons aka DMX, died after nearly a week on life support following a heart attack.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” the statement read, saying the rapper died Friday at White Plains Hospital north of New York City, with his loved ones by his side.
“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,” family’s statement read in part.
Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” the family continued. “He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him.”
Earlier the artist had been hospitalized since last week when he suffered a heart attack at his home in New York.
The complicated rapper who reigned over the late 1990s and early 2000s with hits including “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” and “Party Up” was among hip hop’s darkest yet most endearing stars.
The rapper laid out his inner demons for the masses in gritty, hard-driving anthems with a distinctive poetic rawness that gave him commercial and critical acclaim.
Simmons was born in the New York suburb of Mount Vernon in 1970 and was partially raised in a children’s home after allegedly suffering physical abuse by his mother. He took his stage name from an Oberheim DMX drum machine in one of the homes.
He spent time in a juvenile detention center and then prison as an adult for a series of crimes including carjacking.
The macho, street-wise persona Simmons projected in his music was reinforced by a litany of criminal charges. He was arrested repeatedly for fraud, assault, driving under the influence, and without a license and weapon and narcotics possession.
DMX had spent most of his life in jail, as he also used to say that ‘Jail is like a playground to him’ DMX ‘s first two albums – It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood was released in 1998 and quickly went multi-platinum which made him the first living rapper to release two No 1 albums in the same year.
With the 2003 album Grand Champ he became the first artist to score five US No 1s with their first five albums.
As he continued to release music, he began his acting career in 1998 heading up the Crime drama belly alongside hip hop stars including Nas and Method Man.
He found success playing leads in two thrillers by the Polish director Andrzej Bartkowiak: Exit Wounds (2000) with Steven Seagal and Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) with Jet Li, with whom he also starred in Romeo Must Die (2000). Further roles came alongside actors such as Kris Kristofferson and Michael Madsen, and he appeared as himself in the 2014 Chris Rock film Top Five.
His long struggle with drugs and the bleak circumstances of his childhood, and their impact on his life informed his music.