One of the most notable figures in modern-day hip-hop, Earl Simmons (better known as DMX) died in White Plains, New York on April 9, 2021.
The announcement came from his family, who released a statement: “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.”
On April 2, Simmons was hospitalized after a “catastrophic cardiac arrest” that left him on life support and later led him into a coma. Just a week later, he was pronounced dead at age 50.
The Grammy-nominated artist was best known for his aggressive rap style and lyrical prowess, dominating charts with early hits like “Party Up (Up in Here)” and “X Gon’ Give It To Ya”.
While his career was riddled with his personal issues with substance abuse and arrests, DMX also cleared a path for hardcore rap and achieved widespread commercial success with his intense stage presence and distinct voice.
Aside from releasing music, Simmons also dabbled in film.
He starred alongside fellow rappers Nas and Method Man in the 1998 gangster film Belly. In 2000, Simmons joined Jet Li and R&B singer for the action film Romeo Must Die, and also played a part in Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal in 2001.
The rapper-actor’s death struck a chord with many artists over the weekend. Celebrities like LeBron James, Ice Cube, and many more took to the Internet to pay tribute to his memory.
Gabrielle Union reminisced over the “shared love of dogs, cold beers, Golden Girls reruns, New Edition, and adventures.” She credited Simmons with introducing her to famous producer, Swizz Beatz.
“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.”
T.I. called Simmons a “cultural icon” and said, “There are no words that can mend the loss the hip-hop community felt today.”
Missy Elliott also tweeted about the impact of DMX’s music and sent prayers for his friends and family.
Simmons is survived by his fifteen children.