PHOENIX - DMX, the raspy-voiced hip-hop artist who produced the hit songs "Ruff Ryders’ Anthem" and "Party Up (Up in Here)" and who rapped with a trademark delivery that was often paired with growls, barks and "What!" as an ad-lib, has died, according to a statement from his family. He was 50.
According to earlier media reports, DMX, whose real name was Earl Simmons, was taken to the hospital following a heart attack.
The Grammy-nominated performer died after suffering "catastrophic cardiac arrest," according to the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he died. He was rushed there from his home April 2.
A statement from relatives said he died "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," his family said in a statement. "He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him."
DMX's longtime lawyer, Murray Richman, said the rapper was admitted to the intensive care unit at a hospital after going into cardiac arrest. Richman said he could not confirm reports that DMX overdosed on drugs, and was not sure what caused the heart attack.
Def Jam released a statement regarding his passing:
DMX was a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world. His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and were touched by him. DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever.
The Associated Press reported on April 3 that DMX was on life support.
DMX made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album "It’s Dark and Hell is Hot," which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The multiplatinum-selling album was anchored by several hits including "Ruff Ryders’ Anthem," "Get At Me Dog" and "Stop Being Greedy."
The rapper had four other chart-topping albums including "...And Then There Was X," "Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood," "The Great Depression" and "Grand Champ." He has released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations.
Along with his music career, DMX paved his way as an actor, starring in several movie roles. He starred in the 1998 film "Belly" and appeared in "Romeo Must Die" a couple years later with Jet Li and the late singer Aaliyah. DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for the film’s soundtrack song "Come Back in One Piece."
The rapper also starred in "Exit Wounds" with Steven Seagal and "Cradle 2 the Grave" with Li.
Over the years, DMX has battled with substance abuse. The rapper canceled a series of shows to check himself into a rehabilitation facility in 2019. In an Instagram post, his team said he apologized for the canceled shows and thanked his fans for the continued support.
Last year, DMX faced off against Snoop Dogg in a Verzuz battle, which drew more than 500,000 viewers.
He is survived by his 15 children and mother.
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.