Hip-hop legend DMX, whose real name was Earl Simmons, has died at the age of 50, according to a statement released by his family on Wednesday.
“Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end,” the family writes. “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.”
The rapper was born in Baltimore, Maryland and mostly grew up in Yonkers, New York, before going on to have a hip-hop career that spanned nearly three decades. He was responsible for such hit songs as “Party Up,” “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” and “X Gon’ Give It To Ya,” among many others.
He had been hospitalized since April 2 in White Plains, New York, following a heart attack suffered after reportedly overdosing on drugs.
DMX’s music was ubiquitous, expanding his mark on popular culture far beyond hardcore hip-hop fans. Soundtracks like Bad Trip, Euphoria, and Deadpool frequently used his songs to capture the perfect intersection of anger and fun encapsulated in his musical sensibility.
In addition to his music career—he released eight studio albums, the most recent being 2015’s Redemption of the Beast—DMX also dabbled in acting. In the early 2000s, he starred alongside Jet Li in a pair of action movies (Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 The Grave), as well as in Chris Rock’s 2014 film Top Five, where he had a memorably funny cameo as himself.
You can read the full statement from DMX’s family below.
We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains 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. 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. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.