DMX’s tragic childhood from drug battle to family trauma before untimely death

Rapper DMX went through a lot in his 50 years.

'Ruff Ryder' died on Friday after suffering a cardiac arrest which led to organ failure.

The X Gon’ Give It to Ya star was on life support at White Plains Hospital just outside New York City, and passed away.

His family released a statement that read: "We are deeply saddened to announced 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."

The statement went on to ask for privacy, adding that DMX was "a warrior who fought till the very end."

The heart attack is rumoured to have been brought on by a drug overdose, according to news outlet TMX.

But it wasn’t his first run in with addictive substances – the rapper detailed in his music how he was introduced to drugs as a teen.

He told Talib Kweli on the People’s Party podcast in November 2020 that a man he trusted "passed the [marijuana] blunt around and… I hit the blunt.

"I never felt like this before. It f**ked me up. I later found out that he laced the blunt with crack. Why would you do that to a child?"

DMX was just 14 at the time.

He elaborated: "I didn’t smoke cigarettes, I didn’t smoke weed, I didn’t do anything. 14 years old."

He went on to suffer his first overdose in 2016, when he was found unconscious in a hotel car park in Yonkers.

The legendary rapper has been to rehab several times in order to combat his drug addiction.

Drugs weren’t the only trauma DMX was forced to endure in his tragic childhood.

He told GQ in 2019: "[My mother] beat two teeth out of my f**king mouth with a broom," when he was just six years of age, because he had erased something she’d written in a notebook.

Born in Mount Vernon, New York in December 1970, DMX was raised in nearby Yonkers. His father, who was 18 at the time of Earl’s birth, didn’t want his mum Arnett to go ahead with the birth, and cut off all contact as soon as DMX was born.

He also suffered from asthma attacks as a young boy, and was often rushed to the emergency room for treatment – almost nightly – after being unable to breathe.

And that wasn’t his only hospital stint – he was also hit by a drunk driver and suffered minor injuries, though his mother refused to claim compensation.

DMX said she was "incapable" of looking after him in his 2002 autobiography E.A.R.L, adding that his father "never called me on my birthday or helped raise me at all."

When DMX was 10, he was expelled from school for fighting and throwing chairs at his teachers – and then arrested for arson and assault.

He was eventually taken into care and sent to the Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial Children’s Home – 20 minutes away from his family.

But he was thrown out for starting a fire.

DMX eventually returned to his mum’s house, but would constantly run away to escape the abuse he was suffering at home and sleep in Salvation Army clothes bins.

In lyrics to the tragic song Slippin, DMX sings: "Group homes and institutions prepare my ass for jail / They put me in a situation forcin’ me to be a man / When I was just learnin’ to stand without a helpin’ hand."

Earl took to befriending dogs while on the streets, and was sent to prison in 1986 for stealing a pup from a junkyard.

He endured a two year stint in a juvenile correctional facility but escaped just a few weeks after beginning his sentence.

But he eventually turned himself in and faced his punishment.

He was later imprisoned again for carjacking and released in 1988 – but it didn’t stop there.

Throughout his turbulent life, he was convicted for everything from animal cruelty to identity falsification and drug possession.

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His last jail sentence came in 2018 on bail violation after committing felony tax evasion the year before.

He was officially released in January 2019.

His former manager Nakia Walker told Houston Press in 2011: "Earl is a person who still holds onto a lot of things he suffered in the past, as a child.

"He holds onto things, instead of talking about things and releasing. He expresses himself through his music."

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