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How did DMX die? Family bids farewell to rapper after tragic death at 50: ‘A warrior who fought till the very end’

The Grammy-nominated rapper battled with the problem of drug addiction for many years
Rapper DMX died at the age of 50 (Getty Images)
Rapper DMX died at the age of 50 (Getty Images)

A warrior is lost. Rapper Earl Simmons aka DMX died on Friday, April 9, 2021. He was 50. Remembering the 'Ruff Ryders Anthem' hitmaker, the family announced the heartbreaking news in a statement, "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." 

Heartbroken fans across the world poured in their tributes for the late rapper. The rapper was hospitalized on Friday, April 2, 2021, after he suffered a heart attack following a drug overdose. The 'Let Me Fly' rapper was initially on life support and soon afterward slipped into a coma. His last brain function tests did not show any improvement in brain activity even after a week, as his family faced the difficult decision of whether to withdraw life support.


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Rapper DMX performs during week five of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at UIC Pavilion on July 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

A warrior who fought till the very end

"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," the statement also read.
In an additional note, the hospital providing his care said, "White Plains Hospital extends its deepest condolences to the family of Mr Simmons, as well as his friends and legions of fans who expressed their unwavering support during this difficult time. Earl Simmons passed away peacefully with family present after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest."  

Rapper DMX poses for a photo during week five of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at UIC Pavilion on July 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

How did DMX die?

On Friday, April 2, 2021, DMX suffered a cardiac arrest at his home around 11 pm which was triggered by a drug overdose. He was immediately rushed to the critical care unit at a hospital in White Plains, New York. Initial reports stated that the rapper had "some brain activity" but the prognosis was "not looking good", according to TMZ reports. He remained on life support for most of the time till his death and his brain function had reduced due to a lack of oxygen supply.

"Earl is a sweet guy. Earl was a person who could tell such a story. He was a person with such depth. It’s a heartbreaker," his lawyer Richman had told the media after his hospitalization. 

The Grammy-nominated rapper had battled drug addiction for many years. He had reportedly spent long periods in rehabs and faced several run-ins with the law on charges of animal cruelty, reckless driving, drug and weapons possession, and impersonating a federal officer.

(EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white.) DMX performs onstage during the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour at The Forum on October 4, 2016 in Inglewood, California.

A look at DMX's music career

Born to a teen mother on December 18, 1970, in Mount Vernon, New York, Earl Simmons was raised in Yonkers, after his father cut off all ties with him as soon as he was born. As a child, he suffered from bronchial asthma and had to be rushed to the emergency room frequently for his breathing troubles. In a tragic incident during his childhood, the rapper was injured when a drunk driver hit him while crossing the street.

Simmons' childhood was filled with struggles as he grew up amid extreme abuse, mistreatment, and neglect, which later helped shape his passion for music. He used to be beaten regularly by his mother and her boyfriends and even lost teeth from the physical violence. When he was in fifth grade, he was expelled from home and sent to a children's home for 18 months. Not many people know, that at 14, he used to flee his home to save himself from his abusive mother and befriend stray dogs. 

When his mother Arnett Simmons found out, she sent him back to the shelter home, where he bonded with boys of his age over a shared love for hip-hop music.

DMX performs at Masters Of Ceremony 2019 at Barclays Center on June 28, 2019 in New York City.

Climbing the success ladder

Since the very beginning, Earl was encouraged by his teachers and friends to write and perform music on his own. He later partnered with local rapper Ready Ron, and took the stage name 'DMX'. It was derived from one of the instruments he played at the boys' home — an Oberheim DMX drum machine. Later in his career, his name was also interpreted as 'Dark Man X'. 

His music career only saw skyrocketing success since then but was often interrupted by personal and legal troubles. His 1998 debut album 'It's Dark and Hell Is Hot' propelled him to prominence. Some of the other best albums of his careers include 'And Then There Was X', 'The Great Depression', 'Grand Champ', 'Year of The Dog...Again', and others. 

A devout Christian by faith, DMX was married to Tashera Simmons from 1999 to 2010. They separated following his series of arrests and extramarital affairs and he fathered many children. In 2016, he got engaged to Desiree Lindstrom with whom he shares a son.