DMX, the iconic hip-hop artist behind the songs “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here)” whose distinctively gruff voice and thoughtful messages in his rhymes made him one of rap’s biggest stars, has died, according to a family statement Friday. He was 50.
The Grammy-nominated performer died after suffering “catastrophic cardiac arrest,” according to a statement from the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he died. He was rushed there from his home April 2.
His family’s statement said DMX, whose birth name was Earl Simmons, died with relatives by his side after several days on life support.
“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,” the family said, adding that his music “inspired countless fans across the world.”
DMX — who rapped with a trademark raspy delivery that was often paired with growls, barks and “What!” as an ad-lib — built a multiplatinum career in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but he also struggled with drug addiction and legal problems that repeatedly put him behind bars.
“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,” his record label, Def Jam Recordings, said in a statement describing him as “nothing less than a giant.”
Fellow hip hop artists remembered him likewise, with Eve praising him as “one of the most special people I have ever met” and Nas calling him “Gods poet” in an Instagram post.