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US rapper DMX dies aged 50

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was known for his hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Image of DMX performing in 2014.
Image of DMX performing in 2014.
Image: Shutterstock/hurricanehank

US RAPPER DMX has died aged 50 after nearly a week on life-support following a heart attack.

The Grammy-nominated performer died after suffering “catastrophic cardiac arrest”, according to the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he died.

He was rushed there from his home on April 2.

His family’s statement said DMX, whose birth name was Earl Simmons, died with relatives by his side after several days on life support.

“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 family said, adding that his music “inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever”.

The family said information on a memorial service was forthcoming.

DMX reigned over the late 1990s and early 2000s with hits including X Gon’ Give It To Ya, Where The Hood At? and Party Up.

He has released eight albums, his most recent in 2015, and is among hip-hop’s darkest stars, laying his inner demons out in anthems that gained him commercial and critical acclaim.

He released his debut major-label single Get At Me Dog in 1998 with Def Jam, which came from his first studio album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot.

The album debuted at number one on Billboard’s top album chart and boasted another hit single, Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, ushering in commercial success that would last for years.

Raised in the New York suburb of Yonkers, the artist endured a difficult childhood, growing up in the projects with his mother and siblings where he suffered abuse. 

At 14, he entered a cycle of incarceration that would persist throughout his life, committing robberies that regularly landed him in jail. 

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DMX continued to have run-ins with the law during his life, with charges including drug possession, animal cruelty, reckless driving, failure to pay child support, and tax evasion. 

But it was his blunt, confessional raps delivered with his singular deep-throated growls that left a mark on hip-hop’s sound in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

“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,” said Def Jam Recordings, the label with whom DMX released some of his most iconic albums, in a statement following his death.

“DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever.”

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AFP

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