Rapper DMX has died at the age of 50 after being placed on life support late last week.
A family representative released the following statement to Pitchfork:
“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 hospitalised on 2 April after a heart attack following an alleged drug overdose. He was believed to have collapsed at home before being taken to While Plains Hospital in New York.
Simmons began rapping in the early 1990s and released his acclaimed debut album, It's Dark And Hell Is Hot in 1998 via Ruff Ryders and Def Jam, followed a year later by … And Then There was X.
His stage name was an abbreviation of Dark Man X and he would go on to carve out a career as an actor alongside his hip-hop work with films including Rome Must Die, Cradle 2 The Grave with Jet Li and Exit Wounds.
DMX collaborated with Jay Z and Ja Rule in the group Murder Inc, in 1995 before an acrimonious dissolution. He would go on to face a series of legal issues from the late 1990s but continued to release albums until 2012's Undisputed. The 2015 album Redemption Of The Beast was released without DMX's authorisation.
He leaves a legacy of classic early albums and classic tracks including Ruff Ryders Anthem (with a beat supplied by the then-unknown Swiss Beatz), Slippin', Blackout with Jay-Z, X Gon' Give It To Ya, Damien, Get At Me Dog and Party Up (Up in Here).