DMX, the gravel-voiced rapper and actor who topped the charts with tracks including “Party Up” and “X Gon’ Give It to Ya,” has died at age 50, his family said Friday in a statement.
The rapper, whose real name was Earl Simmons, had a heart attack on April 2, according to his lawyer, Murray Richman. He was immediately hospitalized in grave condition.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” his family said in the statement. “He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him.”
DMX broke onto the rap scene in 1998 with his first studio album, “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.” The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, powered by hits such as “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog” and “Stop Being Greedy.”
He achieved more success with the albums “…And Then There Was X,” “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood,” “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ” — all of which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart.
DMX released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations.
He also scored several roles in Hollywood films. He starred alongside rapper Nas in the 1998 crime drama “Belly,” and two years later he joined Jet Li and the singer Aaliyah in the action movie “Romeo Must Die.”
He appeared with Steven Seagal in “Exit Wounds” (2001) and teamed up with Li again in “Cradle 2 the Grave” (2003). He also made a cameo as himself in the Chris Rock comedy “Top Five” (2014).
DMX was candid about his experience with substance misuse over the years. He also faced various legal troubles, including repeated arrests and brief stints in jail.
In an interview last year on rapper Talib Kweli’s “People’s Party” show, DMX said his drug use started at age 14 when his mentor at the time gave him a blunt laced with crack.
DMX, who got emotional during the interview, said he had never smoked anything before that night: “I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy.”
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