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How Did DMX Die? The Tragic Story

May 31, 2023
how did dmx die

Earl Simmons, also known as DMX, was a highly productive and impactful rap artist during the early 2000s.

His sudden death in April 2021, at the age of 50, after being in a coma for a week, shocked the world.

DMX’s contribution to the rap industry was significant and influential.

What Happened on April 9, 2021? 

Following a heart attack that left him unconscious, DMX was taken to a hospital in White Plains, New York, on April 2, 2021, where he was placed on life support.

Despite initial optimism regarding his recovery from the coma, his condition deteriorated that night.

Medical professionals performed resuscitation attempts for around thirty minutes after he suffered from severe oxygen deprivation to his brain.

According to medical reports, his brain was deprived of oxygen for thirty minutes.

Sadly, the lack of oxygen caused his brain activity to cease entirely.

In a matter of days, DMX’s representatives issued statements indicating that he had suffered from multiple organ failures and had entered a vegetative state from which doctors did not believe he could recover.

However, media reports were contradictory, leading fans to believe he had started breathing independently again.

After remaining comatose for a week, he was declared brain dead on April 9, having experienced failure of his lungs, liver, and kidneys.

At 50 years old, his passing was a great loss to his fans and the music industry.

Later reports suggested that, although resuscitation had restored his pulse in the initial stages of his hospitalization, he had not exhibited any brain activity since his admission, indicating that he had passed away instantly.

What Killed DMX?

Due to DMX’s relatively young age, medical professionals conducted a moderate investigation into the cause of his death but decided that a full autopsy was unnecessary.

The Westchester County Medical Examiner’s office released a statement confirming that DMX had passed away due to a heart attack caused by cocaine use.

The heart attack was severe enough to cause cardiac arrest and prevent the brain from receiving oxygen, resulting in brain death.

An analysis of the rapper’s urine indicated recent cocaine use, and based on other evidence from his body, the medical examiner’s office determined that an autopsy was unnecessary.

DMX’s Problems with Drug Addiction 

DMX struggled with drug addiction throughout his life, and his battles with substance abuse were publicly known.

According to previous disclosures, the rapper was introduced to crack cocaine by his former boss, Ready Ron, when he was around 14 or 15 years old.

He later revealed that he was unaware that the blunt he had smoked contained crack cocaine, which significantly impacted him.

In a 2020 interview, he expressed his outrage at the incident, asking how anyone could do such a thing to a child.

In 2016, DMX was discovered unconscious in a hotel parking lot in Yonkers, New York.

Along with experiencing an overdose and being unable to breathe when law enforcement arrived.

The rapper reportedly received resuscitation from medical professionals after being administered Narcan, a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids.

Although no drugs were found at the location, an eyewitness claimed that the rapper had ingested some substances before collapsing, while DMX later asserted that the episode was due to an asthma attack.

It’s reported that DMX had attempted to seek treatment for his drug addiction multiple times.

However, in 2017, several of his concerts were postponed, prompting him to declare his intention to return to therapy in 2018.

Did A Traumatic Childhood Cause His Addiction Problems?

It is believed that DMX’s difficulties as an adult could be traced back to his abusive upbringing.

The rapper was born to a teenage mother and was allegedly physically assaulted by his mother and her multiple boyfriends as early as the age of six, according to the New York Post.

He was expelled from school at ten years old for fighting, and shortly after that, he was sent to a juvenile correctional facility for 18 months.

By the time he was 14 years old, DMX was homeless and living on the streets, where he was initially exposed to drugs.

During an interview with podcaster Talib Kweli in 2020, DMX revealed that his addiction struggles began at 14.

He was offered a joint by his 30-year-old rap mentor, which he did not know was laced with crack cocaine.

After this incident, DMX said he began using drugs to deal with his pain, and unfortunately, the addiction persisted until his last days.

DMX’s Family Statement About His Death

His family announced that DMX passed away in a critical care unit at a hospital in White Plains, New York.

They referred to him as a fighter who battled until the end and expressed how much he loved his family.

In their statement, they also acknowledged DMX’s impact on his fans worldwide through his music and emphasized that his legacy will endure.

The family respectfully requested privacy as they mourned the loss of the man known to the world as DMX.

Conspiracy Theories

Following his death, online conspiracy theories emerged claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine caused his fatal heart attack.

Nevertheless, the rapper’s representatives promptly debunked these rumors.

They clarified that he had never been vaccinated against COVID-19 and may not have even been eligible for it at the time of his death.

This is because universal vaccine eligibility was not announced until April 19, 2021, ten days after his passing. 


When DMX was still receiving treatment at White Plains Hospital, his fans who were aware of his hospitalization gathered outside the hospital for a candlelit vigil on April 4.

Members of the Ruff Ryders, his record label, played some of his music to honor him.

Numerous celebrities, including Eminem, LeBron James, Gabrielle Union, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, Shaquille O’Neal, and Chance The Rapper expressed their sorrow and offered condolences to the rapper’s family on social media.

Some celebrities shared their memories of collaborating with DMX, while others recounted their reactions and experiences from the time spent with him.

Others expressed the profound impact that the rapper had on their lives and how he inspired them.

To honor DMX, the New York State Senate declared December 18 “DMX Day.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo presented the flag that had flown over the Capitol on the day DMX passed away to his family.

The mayor of DMX’s hometown, Yonkers, Mike Spano, also conveyed his condolences publicly.

Memorial Service And Funeral 

DMX’s life was commemorated with a celebration of life ceremony and a funeral, which occurred on consecutive days in Brooklyn, New York, on April 24 and 25, 2021, respectively.

The celebration of life ceremony was held at Barclays Center on the first day, and a procession of motorcycles accompanied the rapper’s casket as a tribute to Ruff Ryders.

Instead of a traditional hearse, a black monster truck bearing the words “Long Live DMX” was used to transport his body to the service.

During the celebration of life ceremony, there were live musical performances and speeches from DMX’s friends, family, and collaborators.

Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir was among the performers.

The ceremony was broadcasted on DMX’s social media accounts.

Several prominent hip-hop artists, including Nas and Swizz Beatz, gave speeches in honor of DMX.

The day after the celebration of life ceremony, DMX’s funeral took place at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.

Many celebrities, including Alicia Keys, Nas, Lil Kim, and Swizz Beatz, attended the event, as well as the rapper’s ex-wife, Tashera Simmons.

The ceremony, which lasted five hours, featured a combination of in-person and pre-recorded speeches, as well as musical performances.

DMX was buried at Oakland Cemetery in his hometown of Yonkers, New York.


DMX gained recognition as a battle rapper in the early 1990s before achieving mainstream success as a rap star.

In 1997, his career took a major leap when he was featured in LL Cool J’s track “4,3,2,1” alongside Method Man, Canibus, Redman, and Master P.

That same year, DMX also appeared on Mase’s the Lox’s “Money, Power, Respect” and “24 Hrs.

to Live.”

These high-profile collaborations led to DMX’s debut major-label single, “Get at Me Dog,” with Def Jam Recordings.

He later released his debut album, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, which hit number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and sold over five million copies after its release in May 1998.

DMX experienced incredible success and achieved near-instant fame, releasing another album that same year, which made him the second rapper in history (after Tupac Shakur) to do so.

The second album, titled Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, also reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart and remained there for three weeks.

The album was eventually certified Platinum four times.

However, his success didn’t end there.

In 1999, DMX released his third and one of his best-selling albums, And Then There Was X, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.

 The album included the hit single “Party Up,” which became his first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts.

DMX’s fourth album, The Great Depression, was released in 2001 and, like his previous albums, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200.

However, it was only triple Platinum certified, unlike his previous releases.

In 2003, he announced his retirement and declared that Grand Champ would be his final album, but it still reached number one on the Billboard 200.

Fans were surprised when DMX signed with Columbia Records in January 2006 and released Year of the Dog…Again.

He put his retirement plans on hold and released new albums and compilations of his greatest hits in the following years.

DMX had an extraordinary career in the rap industry, having sold millions of albums and received three Grammy Award nominations.

In June 2014, he became the fifth highest-selling rap and hip-hop artist in the United States during the Nielsen Soundscan era, with over 23.3 million albums sold.

He also made history by being one of the first artists to have his first five albums reach number one on the Billboard chart, which is a noteworthy and remarkable achievement to be remembered.

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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