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Rapper DMX Dies at 50 Following Apparent Drug Overdose

Born Earl Simmons, rapper DMX has passed away from an apparent drug overdose after being on life support in a New York area hospital for over a week. One of the most famous figures in the world of rap and hip-hop, DMX has fans around the world, who held constant vigils as they prayed for DMX to survive.

The 50-year-old musician suffered a heart attack as the result of the apparent overdose, and was admitted into intensive care. His manager, Nakia Walker, later made a statement on his condition, saying that he was in a “vegetative state.”

DMX spoke openly about his struggles with addiction in the past, and in November 2020, he spoke specifically about his first encounter with hard drugs, where his mentor, a local rapper named Ready Ron, gave him a blunt that was laced with crack. DMX believed it to be solely marijuana at the time.

On an episode of Talib Kweli’s show, People’s Party, DMX recalled, “He passed the blunt around and… I hit the blunt. I never felt like this before it f—ed me up. I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack… Why would you do that to a child? He was like 30 and he knew I looked up to him. Why would you do that to someone who looks up to you?”

DMX had a difficult upbringing, where he was physically abused by both his mother and several of his mother’s boyfriends. As a child, DMX was kicked out of school and sent to live in a boy’s home, where he would again be sent to live in his early teens.

Around that same time, DMX met Ready Ron, who took him under his wing as a rapper and beatboxer — and unfortunately introduced him to the insidious world of drugs. In his early career, DMX began to encounter problems with the law, which would follow him throughout his life, and included charges for reckless driving, animal cruelty, drug possession, and weapons charges.

In the midst of personal—and public—struggles, DMX rose to fame with hits like “X Gon’ Give It to Ya” and “What’s My Name.” He quickly became one of the most recognizable artists on the rap scene, though his demons were always present.

As recently as 2019, DMX attended rehab to confront his addictions. At that time, a statement read that, “In his ongoing commitment to putting family and sobriety first, DMX has checked himself into a rehab facility.” DMX is father to 15 children—the youngest of which is just four years old.

DMX served jail time in 2017 for tax evasion, and although his sentence amounted to just one year, he initially faced up to 40 years in jail. During his sentencing, his lawyer played one of DMX’s autobiographical songs, “Slippin’,” to demonstrate the difficulty that DMX had faced throughout his life.

“His life experiences were horrible. I’ve heard terrible tales, but I’ve never heard such horrible upbringing as this,” his attorney, Murray Richman, said.

“The Simmons family appreciates the overwhelming outpouring of heartfelt love, encouragement, support and prayers for Earl. Earl is someone whose life and music have been a source of inspiration and strength to so many people around the world. It is reassuring to see his fans return that same passion and energy to him during his time of need,” said a statement from his family after his initial hospitalization.

Upon his death, his family issued another statement, saying, “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.”

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