Tragic Details About DMX

The following article includes mention of substance abuse and child abuse. 

Music legend DMX died on April 9, 2021, as reported by Variety. He was placed on life support after suffering a heart attack that was said to be the result of an unconfirmed drug overdose. The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was "rushed to the hospital after collapsing at home" on April 2, 2021, his rep told TMZX's lawyer, Murray Richman, didn't comment on what lead to his heart attack, but told NBC News, "Earl is a sweet guy," adding, "Earl was a person who could tell such a story. He was a person with such depth. It's a heartbreaker."

DMX previously opened up about his struggles with addiction and other hardships in his life, including a staggering rap sheet and a truly gut-wrenching tale of what set him on a path of self-destruction at a very early age. In spite of it all, the multi-platinum selling star endeared himself to millions over his career that spanned more than two decades. As we also mourn the death of the hip-hop icon, let's revisit the troubled times and tragic details about DMX's life. 

The initial reports of DMX's condition sounded dire

Shortly after TMZ broke the news that DMX was rushed to White Plains Hospital in Westchester, N.Y., we learned he was in the critical care unit after paramedics tried to resuscitate him for 30 minutes, according to a family member. However, he was deprived of oxygen during that time and doctors informed his family the "lack of oxygen severely impacted X's brain."

The artist was said to have "some brain activity" after arriving at the hospital, but another source told the outlet he was in a "vegetative state" as doctors prepare his family for the worst. "It's not looking good," an additional source revealed. Despite the dire prognosis, the rapper's rep told TMZ at the time, "Earl has been a warrior his entire life. This situation represents yet another road he must conquer."

Unfortunately, hope was dashed days later when the star's rep stated (via Variety) that the family was "deeply saddened to announce" X's death at age 50, saying he "fought till the very end."

DMX underwent brain function tests prior to his death

Almost a week after he was admitted to hospital, DMX underwent a series of brain function tests to ascertain whether or not there was any brain activity. Sadly, the results showed little improvement on DMX's condition. TMZ reported that "the battery of tests performed on X Wednesday showed no improvement in brain activity since he was rushed to the hospital ... he had little brain function after being deprived of oxygen for nearly half an hour." The rapper remained in a coma following an alleged overdose and heart attack, and DMX's family was faced with some difficult decisions regarding his care.

Per NBC News, DMX's manager, Steve Rifkind, said in a statement prior to the tests, "DMX is currently on life support and in a coma. There are multiple people with inaccurate information about his well-being and it is not helpful and productive. Tomorrow he will undergo further tests on his brain function and his family will determine what's best from there." He continued, "We appreciate your prayers and support." 

DMX was prematurely reported dead

On April 9, XXL confirmed the tragic news that DMX had passed away at the age of 50 that moring. Prior to his death, however, multiple media outlets falsely reported that DMX had died.

Daily Star reported that "RIP DMX" began trending on Twitter after the rapper's friend, comedian Luenell, mistakenly posted on her Instagram Stories, "It is over. My friend is gone. Soar with the birds. Join the best that ever did it. RIP... DMX." Per the publication, Luenell later apologized for the post which appeared to declare DMX's death early, and she posted, "When your spirit leaves and your organs fail you, the body becomes just a shell. One becomes wrapped in the Lord's arms. That what 'I' call gone. I'm sorry to all. #DMX." DMX's manager, Steve Rifkind, denied the premature reports of the rapper's death.

Sadly, on April 9, DMX's death was confirmed, and his team said in a statement, "He loved his family with all of his heart and we cherish the times we spent with him."

There was a prayer vigil for DMX outside the hospital

In the days leading up to DMX's tragic death, friends, family, and fans gathered to pray for his recovery during a prayer vigil outside of White Plains Hospital on April 5, 2021. According to photos obtained by TMZ, his fiancée, Desiree Lindstrom, joined fans outside of the hospital, along with his ex-wife Tashera Simmons, and fellow baby mama Yadira Borrego. Some of his children joined in during the vigil including his toddler-age son Exodus, whom he shares with his fiancée. Desiree and the artist's mother, Arnett Simmons, were said to have been with DMX since he was admitted.

Hospital workers also participated in the vigil as they were seen waving an "X" sign from a hospital window. Additionally, members of the "Ruff Ryders" motorcycle crew, a sort of fan club of the rapper's label, pulled up outside of the hospital to pay their respects during their own impromptu vigil on April 4. They were seen blasting his music and revving their engines in solidarity.

DMX had a long history of drug abuse

Drug abuse has been a theme throughout DMX's life since he was given a laced blunt at the age of 14, he revealed on the People's Party with Talib Kweli in November 2020. He was previously hospitalized for a near-fatal drug overdose in 2016. According to Page Six, the rapper had no pulse and had stopped breathing in a parking lot outside of a Westchester, N.Y., hotel. He was given Narcan to "reverse the effects of a heroin overdose" and became "semiconscious" before receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.

It appeared he was committed to his sobriety after he paused his 20th-anniversary tour to check into rehab in October 2019. "In his ongoing commitment to putting family and sobriety first, DMX has checked himself into a rehab facility," an Instagram announcement read at the time. "He apologizes for his canceled shows and thanks his fans for their continued support."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The heartbreaking story of how DMX was introduced to hard drugs

It's already been mentioned that DMX was first introduced to hard drugs when he was just 14, but the story is worse than you might realize. During an interview for People's Party with Talib Kweli, DMX said of his introduction to drugs, "I didn't smoke cigarettes, I didn't smoke weed. I didn't do anything. ... [We] do a robbery one night ... He came back with a blunt rolled up." DMX discussed what happened next, saying, "He passed the blunt around and ... I hit the blunt ... I never felt like this, it f***ed me up. I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack." Understandably, the rapper got visibly emotional during the interview as he opened up about the painful memory.

Even more heartbreaking was the fact that DMX was given the blunt by a mentor who was 30 years old at the time, while the rapper was just a teenager. "Why would you do that to a child? He was like 30," DMX told People's Party. "And he knew I looked up to him. Why would you do that to somebody who looks up to you?"

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He was clean ahead of his hospital stay

DMX previously revealed he got clean as a way to "deal with the things that hurt me," he shared on the People's Party with Talib Kweli in November 2020. He admitted he was once reluctant to speak out about his struggles with addiction, saying he saw it as a "sign of weakness," however, he realized sharing his story is "one of the bravest things you can do."

After his 2016 overdose, he said during a 2017 interview with HipHopDX that he wasn't using hard drugs anymore. "I think we kinda knew that was the problem... Of course, it was the problem," he said at the time. "I got in trouble and all that s**t. It's not worth it. I spent too much time doing things. It's just not worth it."

More recently, he seemed to be optimistic for the future as he teased his upcoming album in February 2021 on N.O.R.E.'s Drink Champs podcast. He said a bunch of famous faces were set to make an appearance on his records including Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and U2's Bono.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

In addition to his drug use, life wasn't easy for DMX

Outside of DMX's struggles with drug abuse, the rapper had a complicated relationship with the law as well. In a 2019 interview with GQ, DMX revealed he was incarcerated at least 30 times for a variety of crimes such as resisting arrest, reckless driving, driving without a license, animal cruelty, drug possession, disorderly conduct, possession of a weapon, tax evasion, and failure to pay child support, per Medium. He's also had several financial issues — at the time of his death, DMX was even said to have an estimated net worth off -$1 million. Those finance troubles led to his most recent conviction in 2018 after he was charged with 14 counts of tax fraud and sentenced to one year in prison. He was released from prison in January 2019.

During his last stint in prison, he spent 90 days in solitary confinement, he told GQ. "If you don't got a strong mind, it'll f**k you up," he said of his time in the hole. "I didn't get out of my cell at all." Only time will tell what fate holds for DMX.

Physical abuse marred DMX's childhood

As well as being introduced to hard drugs at a young age, DMX also experienced abuse at home. During his profile with GQ in 2019, DMX opened up about his relationship with his mother and explained, "I found out I just knew things that she didn't know when I was only six years old. I would get up at night sometimes to drink water because I was so hungry. And I saw something in her notebook that was open on the kitchen table. And it was wrong, so I erased it. I thought I was helping."

However, according to DMX, his decision to erase her notes didn't go down well. "I don't know what she thought I was doing, but ... I don't know if she thought I was trying to sabotage her or whatever," he told GQ. "I don't know what she thought. But she beat two teeth out of my f***ing mouth with a broom. And I think about this today, I'm like, 'Okay, you saw me erase something in your notebook. What did you think I was trying to do? What could you have possibly thought I was trying to do?'"

However, the rapper also defended his mom during the interview and said, "That doesn't mean I don't love her. That doesn't mean she's the same person." It seems that the rapper found forgiveness for his mother later in life.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services at

He lived in group homes as a teenager

As a teenager, DMX spent some time in children's homes. Per his All Music biography, "A troubled and abusive childhood turned him violent, and he spent a great deal of time living in group homes and surviving on the streets via robbery, which led to several run-ins with the law." Following his success as a rapper, DMX later returned to visit one of the homes in Dobbs Ferry, New York, where he met with residents. It would seem that, despite leaving the home he shared with his mother where he allegedly faced abuse as a child, DMX still didn't have an easy childhood at all.

During his court case for tax evasion in 2018, DMX's attorney Murray Richman told NBC News, "His life experiences were horrible. I've heard terrible tales, but I've never heard such horrible upbringing as this." Meanwhile, Okayplayer reported, "a teenage DMX would wander the streets of Baltimore (and later New York City), befriending dogs and taking part in everything from robberies to drug dealing in order to make a living. X felt a particularly strong affinity with stray dogs; animals cruelly forgotten by society, which must persevere in order to survive."

DMX's 15 children visited him in the hospital

As a father of 15, DMX had a large family, and all of his children reportedly visited him in hospital. New York Post reported on April 6 that DMX was "surrounded by many of his children — some of whom were spotted at a mass vigil outside the hospital — as they say their 'final goodbye' to their dad." Understandably, DMX's kids wanted to be at their father's side while he remained in critical condition. However, ongoing COVID-19 protocols at the hospital meant that limits regarding how many people are allowed to visit at a time are in place. Per New York Post, "But with COVID-19 restrictions in place at the White Plains medical center, only one child can see their ailing father at a time." 

DMX often spoke of his large brood in interviews. Speaking to GQ in 2019, DMX discussed the Exodus tattoo on his neck and said, "Exodus 1:7. It says, 'Be fruitful and multiply and your children will inherit the world.'" The verse was particularly important to the rapper as he named his youngest son Exodus, and revealed, "It's new beginnings. Exodus speaks to beginnings. He was a new beginning."

DMX's fiancée's latest Instagram videos show a happy family life

DMX was a father to the 15 children, the youngest of whom is five years old, as of this writing. DMX shared son Exodus with his fiancee Desiree Lindstrom, and the trio regularly appeared in Instagram videos together prior to the rapper's hospitalization. On March 31, days before he was admitted to hospital, Lindstrom shared a sweet video of DMX dancing and lip-synching during a car journey, and said of her fiance, "He too funny." Last month, Lindstrom shared a sweet snap taken with her man, which she captioned, "My fiancé! I love u." 

It seems that DMX had a happy family life prior to his heart attack, and Lindstrom remained at the rapper's side throughout his hospitalization. Per TMZ, sources revealed, "X's fiancée, Desiree Lindstrom, and mom, Arnett Simmons, have been allowed into the ICU to visit DMX, though he is not responsive." With five year old Exodus, and 14 other children, DMX had a large family, and they all reportedly supported him in hospital while he remained in a coma.

While the happy memories shared on social media will likely comfort fans in the wake of the rapper's tragic death, they will also undoubtedly serve as a reminder of how this talented, caring man left the world far too soon.