R.I.P. legendary rapper DMX

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Legendary rapper DMX has died. On April 2, he was hospitalized after an apparent drug overdose and heart attack. He was 50.

His family released the following statement via a press representative: “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.”

DMX was born Earl Simmons in Baltimore and grew up in Yonkers, New York. He spent part of his youth in boys’ homes, where he eventually bonded with other kids over their shared love of music. After returning home, he befriended local rapper Ready Ron, who was impressed with Simmons’ beatboxing skills and asked him to become his partner. Simmons chose the name DMX, after the Oberton DMX drum machine.

After a couple of stints in prison, DMX focused his efforts on making music, which came to be defined by his aggressive style and raspy vocal growl. He released his first single, “Born Loser,” after signing with Columbia offshoot Ruffhouse. The single didn’t perform well, and Columbia agreed to let him out of his contract. Next he appeared alongside Jay-Z, Ja Rule and Mic Geronimo on the track “Time to Build,” and later LL Cool J’s “4,3,2,1.” In 1998, he released his debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, which eventually sold more than four million copies in the U.S. That same year, he released Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, which went triple platinum, and the next year, …And Then There was X, which went quintuple platinum. His last album was 2015’s

DMX’s label, Def Jam, said in a statement, “Def Jam Recordings and the extended Def Jam family of artists, executives and employees are deeply and profoundly saddened by the loss of our brother Earl “DMX” Simmons. DMX was 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and were touched by him. DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever.”

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