DMX, the sensationally talented and gruff-voiced rap artist and actor who rose from the hardscrabble streets of Yonkers, New York, to become one of hip-hop’s most prolific stars, is fighting for his life after his lawyer said he suffered a heart attack.
Initial reports suggested that the star, most famous for the “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” and whose real name is Earl Simmons, had suffered a drug overdose at about 11 p.m. Friday.
He was rushed to a hospital in White Plains, New York, where he reportedly is in grave condition.
“Please pray for my brother DMX,” hip-hop and “Blue Bloods” star Eric B. wrote on Twitter in a post that alerted the world to DMX’s dire condition.
Missy Elliott, Ja Rule, Gabrielle Union, and Viola Davis soon joined Eric B. in tweeting prayers to DMX.
The superstar has struggled with drug addiction for decades and recently explained his long battle to stay sober.
He said someone who served as his mentor tricked him into smoking crack cocaine when DMX was 14.
“I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack,” DMX told Talib Kweli. “Why would you do that to a child?”
Raised by his aunt, DMX took hip-hop by storm in the late 1990s.
After being featured in The Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype column in January 1991, he signed to Columbia Records and released a relatively unsuccessful single “Born Loser.”
Following a yearslong hiatus, DMX reemerged on the New York mixtape scene, creating a major buzz with a slew of guest appearances, including on LL Cool J’s “4, 3, 2, 1” in 1997.
After signing a contract with Ruff Ryders/ Def Jam Records, DMX recorded his hit “Get At Me Dog,” which quickly rose up the rap and pop music charts.
His seminal 1998 debut album “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot” cemented his legacy as a rap music genius.
The website AllMusic.com noted that, following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious BIG, DMX took over as the undisputed reigning king of hardcore rap.
“He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare,” editors at AllMusic.com wrote. “His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap’s most distinctive personalities during his heyday.”
Hype Williams’ motion picture “Belly” was among the first to cast DMX in leading roles.
The 1998 film also included Nas, Taral Hicks, Method Man, R&B singer T-Boz, and National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
Before the end of 1998, DMX completed his second album, and a pending buyout of Def Jam pushed the record into stores that December. Featuring a controversial cover photo of the rapper covered in blood, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood entered the charts at number one and eventually went triple platinum.
He went on to star in a myriad of motion pictures and television shows, including “Any Given Sunday,” “Gone in 60 Seconds” and “Cradle 2 the Grave.”
DMX reportedly has 15 children.