R.I.P DMX: Rapper dies at aged 50 a week after suffering heart attack

DMX has died at the age of 50.

His family shared the news with The Associated Press on Friday, a week after the rapper suffered a heart attack that left him on life support.

“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,” the family told People in a statement.

“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 finalised.”

DMX was taken to a hospital in White Plains, New York, after suffering a heart attack on 2 April. A vigil was held there on Monday (5 April).

DMX made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album, It's Dark and Hell is Hot, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The multiplatinum-selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders' Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy”, and “How’s It’s Goin' Down”.

DMX followed up with four straight chart-topping albums: ... And Then There Was XFlesh of My FleshBlood of My BloodThe Great Depression, and Grand Champ. He released eight albums, earned three Grammy nominations and was named favourite rap/hip-hop artist at the 2000 American Music Awards.

DMX arrived on the rap scene around the same time as Jay-Z, Ja Rule and others who dominated the charts and emerged as platinum-selling acts. They were all part of rap crews, too: DMX fronted the Ruff Ryders collective, which helped launch the careers of Grammy winners Eve and Swizz Beatz, and relaunch The Lox, formerly signed to Bad Boy Records. Ruff Ryders had success on the charts and radio with its Ryde or Die compilation albums.

Along with his musical career, DMX paved his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film Belly and appeared in 2000’s Romeo Must Die with Jet Li and Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for “Come Back in One Piece” on the film’s soundtrack.

The rapper would later open Aaliyah’s tribute music video, “Miss You”, alongside her other friends and collaborators, including Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim and Queen Latifah, after Aaliyah’s 2001 death in a plane crash at age 22.

The rapper also starred in 2001's Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal and 2003’s Cradle 2 the Grave with Li.

He is survived by his mother and 15 children.

Missy Elliott shared a tribute to DMX shortly after the news of his death broke, writing: “Even though you had battles you touched so many through your music and when you would pray so many people felt that! This is heavy for the hip-hop family but your legacy lives on & your spirit. Continued prayers for X family & friends for strength/healing.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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