DMX, known for iconic rap songs, dead at 50

DMX, the iconic hip-hop artist behind songs like “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,”“Party Up (Up in Here),” "Slippin'" and "How It Goin' Down" has died. His distinctive gruff voice and thoughtful messages in his rhymes made him one of rap’s biggest stars. (April 9)

Video Transcript

GARY GERARD HAMILTON: Hip-hop star DMX has died at the age of 50. The beloved rapper was known for his signature staccato delivery and huge hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s, like "Rough Riders Anthem" and "Party Up." He suffered a catastrophic cardiac arrest according to the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he died. He was rushed there on April 2.

A three-time Grammy nominee known for leading his stadium-filled concerts in passionate prayers, the raspy-voiced emcee, born Earl Simmons, publicly struggled with a drug addiction dating back to his teenage years. Known to hip-hop fans simply as "X," the rapper's impact cannot only be measured solely by the music charts. The Yonkers lyricist-- who stood shoulder to shoulder with music giants like Jay-Z, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J set hip-hop on fire in 1998 with the multi-platinum "It's Dark, and Hell is Hot."

The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. He followed it up with four straight Billboard chart-topping albums, including, "And Then There Was X." A standout member of the Rough Riders clique headed by super producer Swiss Beatz. DMX also brought his bite to Hollywood, starring in 1998's cult classic, "Billy," and appearing in "Romeo Must Die" with Jet Li R&B princess Aaliyah, released in 2000. He would later join forces with Steven Seagal in 2001's "Exit Wounds," and with Li again in 2003's "Cradle to the Grave."

But as his hits like "Slipping" and "How's it Going Down" played in heavy rotation on radio, MTV, and BBT, he struggled with legal troubles often linked to his addictions, facing arrest and jail repeatedly. But DMX was also known for giving back. He surprised the Philadelphia Homeless Support Group meeting in 2017, and helped a family in Maine with its back-to-school purchases a couple of years later.

Last year, DMX and Snoop Dogg were celebrated in the "Popular Verses" series, drawing more than 500,000 viewers. DMX is survived by his mother and 15 children. Gary Gerard Hamilton, the Associated Press.