“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,” his family said in a statement to People. “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.”
News broke on Saturday, April 3, that the rapper, 50, whose real name was Earl Simmons, had overdosed in his New York home, which triggered a heart attack. He was treated at a critical care unit of a hospital in White Plains, New York.
The following day, the Grammy winner’s manager, Nakia Walker, told BuzzFeed News that the New York native was in a “vegetative state.” She explained, “He’s still in the same condition … [with] lung and brain failure and no brain activity. We’re just praying and waiting. Praying and waiting. We just stay hopeful. It’s devastating, for sure. It’s really hard.”
Walker encouraged the “X Gon’ Give it to Ya” rapper’s fans to stay hopeful. “Keep the positive energy, keep praying for X, keep playing his music, stay encouraged,” she said.
Celebrities, including Missy Elliott and Gabrielle Union, supported the E.A.R.L: The Autobiography of DMX author via Twitter. “Prayers for DMX and his family,” the singer, 49, wrote, while the former America’s Got Talent judge, 48, tweeted. “Please pray, send healing energy, whatever positive vibes you can for #DMX.”
Simmons has spoken candidly in the past about his struggles with drug addiction, telling Talib Kweli in a November 2020 podcast episode that his mentor tricked him into smoking crack when he was 14.
“I hit the blunt and … I was no longer focused,” Simmons explained at the time. “I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack. Why would you do that to a child? He knew I looked up to him.”
The American Music Award winner most recently checked himself into rehab in October 2019 and canceled his concerts. “He apologizes for his cancelled shows and thanks his fans for their continued support,” his team said in a statement at the time, explaining that Simmons was “putting family and sobriety first.”
The decision came 10 months after the DMX: Soul of a Man alum was released from prison. He was charged in 2017 with 14 federal counts of tax fraud, pleading guilty to a single count at the time. While he was originally free pending sentencing, he was remanded to jail in January 2019 after leaving a court-ordered drug treatment program and relapsing. He was sentenced to one year in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
The songwriter was ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution to the government and enroll in an outpatient program for substance abuse and mental health following his release.
In 2011, the songwriter credited his 15 children with his motivation to stay sober. “I have to drive them in the right direction, so I let the cocaine go,” he said.