WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Rapper and actor DMX died Friday after suffering a heart attack and being put on life support.
The 50-year-old was surrounded by family in his final days at White Plains Hospital, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.
A statement from the family said DMX, whose birth name is Earl Simmons, died at the hospital “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. He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him,” the statement continued. “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.”
A large crowd of family, friends and fans gathered outside the hospital earlier this week for a prayer vigil.
Simmons made his mark as one of hip-hop’s most recognizable names with his distinctive voice and signature rasp. He released the first of his seven albums in 1998.
Hit after hit landed him on the top of the music charts through the late ’90s and early 2000s.
DMX was the first to have his first five albums consecutively debut at number one on Billboard.
A three-time Grammy nominee and a two-time American Music Award-winner, DMX was part of the Ruff Ryders hip-hop collective and starred in movies.
— Def Jam Recordings (@defjam) April 9, 2021
His record label, Def Jam Recordings, called him “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,” the label said in a statement describing him as “nothing less than a giant.”
New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also reacted to his death on Twitter, saying DMX was “someone who overcame great obstacles and never forgot where he came from.”
Yonkers, along with his visits to the Nepperhan Community Center to give back to needy families. Sending my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.
— Sen. Stewart-Cousins (@AndreaSCousins) April 9, 2021
“Growing up in the School Street housing project and sharing his painful childhood through his music has always kept him connected to… Yonkers, along with his visits to the Nepperhan Community Center to give back to needy families,” she tweeted. “Sending my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.”
He often visited places like a local community center to give back to families in need.
“During Thanksgiving time, he would go to the Nepperhan Community Center and make sure that families were fed … and he was always somebody who was touchable,” Stewart-Cousins said.
In his 2002 biography, he described a troubled upbringing, saying he was physically abused and went in and out of group homes.
Throughout his life, he faced legal battles and struggled with drug addiction, which he was vocal about in his music and interviews.
“I will always have a drug problem,” DMX told Iyanla Vanzant. “Just because you stop getting high, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the problem, because it’s a constant fight every day.”
Music was his outlet from the time he was young. His music was an escape for fans, especially during the pandemic.
In July, DMX took part in a Verzuz battle with Snoop Dog, which spread on social media. It was the last time many got to see him perform.
Watch Jenna DeAngelis’ report —
A crowd of people flooded the streets outside the hospital where DMX died Friday night.
Omari Brannigan drove from Queens to White Plains.
“This is real big. This is real big,” he told CBS2’s Cory James. “DMX, he represented hip hop … He was, like, a superb artist … He was one of the best, without a question.”
There were similar tributes throughout the day.
Inside Maciel’s Barbershop in New Rochelle, DMX music videos played on TVs.
It’s a place where Rafael Maciel cut the legendary Ruff Ryder’s hair.
“No matter how his status was socially, he was always in tune with the streets and in tune with his people. He was in here like he was in his house. I cut his hair all the time,” Maciel said.
Cell phone video captured a glimpse of one of his visits. Another video recorded by Jessi Ceja shows DMX pouring drinks for fans.
“We bought a Hennessy bottle for him,” Ceja said. “It was like I knew him for a long time because … he’s a genuine person.”
While he had struggles with addiction, L. Londell McMillan, DMX’s friend and former attorney, says the music legend fought until the very end.
“He was a warrior. He was a fighter. Many didn’t even think he’d make it until 50, but we’re glad that he did, and his legacy will live forever more,” McMillan said.
CBS2’s Cory James contributed to this report.