Earl Simmons, known to the world as the legendary rapper DMX, passed away April 9th at the age of 50.
The rapper and actor died after suffering a cardiac arrest on April 2nd.
In a statement released to Pitchfork, the family states “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.”
DMX exploded onto the hip-hop scene in 1998 with the release of his debut album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot”. He immediately captured listeners’ attention with his intense style and gritty, thought-provoking lyrics; a stark contrast to the “shiny-suit” style of hip-hop that was popular at the time. Following the critical and commercial acclaim of that album, he would release a second album that same year, “Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of My Blood”. Both albums would debut at number one on the Billboard charts, being the first rapper to release two number-ones within the same year. His run of number-one albums would continue throughout the early 2000s with his following three albums, “…And Then There Was X”, “The Great Depression” and “Grand Champ”; as well as a string of multi-platinum singles including “Ruff Ryders Anthem”, “Party Up (Up in Here), and “X Gon Give It To Ya”, earning him three Grammy nominations.
As an actor, DMX made his debut in the 1998 crime film Belly, best known for its iconic blacklit opening sequence. He would then feature in the film Romeo Must Die, as well as co-starring in a number of action films, most notably Exit Wounds (alongside Steven Seagal) and Cradle 2 The Grave (alongside Romeo Must Die star Jet Li). His soundtracks would be featured in a number of films, most notably used in Deadpool.
DMX was also no stranger to the gaming world. Outside of his music being featured on gaming soundtracks from a variety of series including Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Forza Horizon, Fuser, and UFC, he himself would be featured as a playable character in 2003 hip-hop fighter Def Jam Vendetta.
He was most recently featured last year alongside Snoop Dogg in an installment of the popular Verzuz series on Instagram Live. The series, which highlights a pair of artists and their discographies in friendly competition, drew over 500,000 viewers.
DMX struggled with addiction and legal issues over the course of his life, something he was frequently honest about in his music. “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”, said Def Jam Recordings in a statement. “DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever.”
Immediately after his passing, an outpouring of grief and tributes have been made by friends and fans alike. “You always made the time to look out for folks.. I am forever grateful for your joy, your laugh, your protection all these years and your hugs anytime I’ve seen you. You are 1 of 1. Rest in eternal peace my friend. Rest.”, wrote his Cradle 2 The Grave co-star Gabrielle Union in a heartfelt instagram post. Close friend and frequent collaborator Swizz Beatz wrote: “I’m truly beyond devastated !!!!!! But I’m so happy my brother is no longer in pain . I watched him take everyone’s pain and make it his own ?? I send my love and support to his entire family ?? My brother we will never let them forget your name and you will live forever F.A.M.E? Long live King DMX THE GREAT AKAmy brother 4 Life Earl Simmons”