Iconic New York rapper DMX has died following hospitalization from an apparent drug overdose. The news was confirmed to Pitchfork by a representative for DMX. He was 50-years-old.
DMX’s family shared a statement about the late rapper:
“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. 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.”
Throughout his illustrious career, DMX cemented himself as one of the most powerful voices in hip-hop – figuratively and literally. His booming, raspy voice and trademark barks and growls cemented him as a dominant voice in rap throughout the ‘90s and subsequent decades. Prior to rapping, DMX first began as a beatboxer in 1984 supporting New York rapper Ready Ron and writing his own rhymes on the side. After serving a prison sentence, DMX reemerged, reinvigorated to pursue a rap career of his own.
DMX signed to Columbia Records in 1992 and released his first single “Born Loser” in 1993. He would quickly follow up with features and collaborations with other future legends including Jay-Z, Ja Rule, LL Cool J, and numerous others. In 1998, DMX released his debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot. Buoyed by instant classic singles “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Get At Me Dog,” the album would go on to be certified 4x platinum by the RIAA. Later that year he would release his second album, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood which would also be certified platinum and make DMX the first rapper to have two number one records on the Billboard charts in the same year.
Following the one-two punch of his first two records, DMX continued momentum with a string of hit records and singles, including 1999’s ...And Then There Was X, 2001’s The Great Depression, and 2003’s Grand Champ. DMX also continued to build up a film career with starring roles in Belly, Cradle 2 The Grave, Romeo Must Die, and Exit Wounds. His last album would come with 2015’s Redemption of the Beast.
Throughout his life and career, DMX openly struggled with addiction. But DMX’s legacy will continue to be the magnetic, powerful presence he’d bring on every record and live performance. Join us remembering his life and music with some of our favorite DMX moments below.