NEW YORK—American rapper and actor Earl Simmons, known by the stage name DMX or Dark Man X, died on Friday, People magazine said, after suffering a heart attack during what media reports said was a drug overdose. He was 50 years old.
“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,” his family wrote in a statement quoted by the magazine.
DMX collapsed at home, his family had said, and was taken to a New York hospital where his former manager said he had been placed on life support with no brain activity.
Celebrity publications TMZ and Billboard said he overdosed on drugs triggering a heart attack.
Growing up in Yonkers, New York, DMX took his moniker from the name of a drum machine used in rap songs. When he was 14, an older rapper who had been a mentor tricked him into smoking crack, DMX said in a documentary series broadcast on BET.
“He created a monster,” he said. “Cocaine almost took my life on a few occasions.”
DMX released eight albums and was nominated for three Grammys.
DMX earned more than 40 film and television credits, also contributing music to their soundtracks.
He had 15 children, according to media reports.
Before he died, his ex-wife Tashera Simmons, with whom he had four children, attended a vigil outside his hospital, where hundreds of fans danced to DMX songs. “The love is real,” she posted on Instagram.
Basketball star LeBron James had tweeted while DMX was in hospital: “To one of my fav artist growing up and still to this day DMX, my prayers are with you and sent to the almighty heaven’s above!”
DMX’s career had been marked by legal troubles and prison time.
In 2017, DMX pleaded guilty in federal court to avoiding paying $1.7 million in taxes from 2000 to 2005 by shifting money among accounts belonging to managers and associates. He was sentenced to one year in prison.
The rap star’s prior arrest record included charges of animal cruelty, reckless driving, drug possession, weapons charges and probation violations. He served prison time in Arizona and New York.