Earl Simmons, the rapper more commonly known as DMX, was rushed to White Plains Hospital in New York late Friday night, after suffering a heart attack (via NBC News). While the exact cause of Simmons’ heart attack has not been reported, at this time the 50-year old rapper remains in the hospital’s intensive care unit on life support. His former manager Nakia Walker told BuzzFeed News that he was, "in a vegetative state, [with] lung and brain failure and no brain activity."
At around 11 p.m. on April 2nd, 911 was called to the home of the hip-hop legend. TMZ first reported that paramedics tried to resuscitate Simmons for 30 minutes, during which time his body was deprived of adequate oxygen. The lack of oxygen at that critical time has likely contributed to Simmons’ vegetative state. Updates on the rapper’s health have failed to note any changes in his condition. Yesterday, hundreds of fans and supporters gathered outside White Plains Hospital for a prayer vigil and rally held in support of the New York native (via Fox News).
DMX’s journey to sobriety has been a bumpy road
Simmons first came on the music scene in the 90’s releasing hit songs like "Party Up (Up In Here)" and "Get Me a Dog" (via NPR). His musical career has garnered him three Grammy nominations as well as in 2003 becoming the first artist to have his first five albums enter the Billboard charts at number one. In addition to his great musical career, Simmons has also starred in numerous movies and TV shows, including "Romeo Must Die" and "Never Die Alone."
While DMX has seen an impressive career to date, it has not been without some turbulence. The legend has been very open about his past struggles with drug addiction and multiple stints in rehab. Most recently in 2019 after spending one year in prison for tax fraud, DMX cancelled multiple concerts to receive help in rehab stating his " ongoing commitment to putting family and sobriety first" (via Rolling Stone). While what exactly led to DMX’s current medical crisis is unknown, many are speculating it may be a result of a drug overdose.
DMX opens up about how he initially became addicted to drugs
In a very open and vulnerable interview with Talib Kweli for UPROXX in 2020, DMX opened up about how he became addicted to crack at the age of 14. Becoming tearful in the interview, DMX described how his then-mentor — who was 30 years old — would go on to change the course of his life forever. Of his mentor, who remained unnamed, DMX said, "He introduced me to what would be the best part of my life — the rap." He went on to say, "He also introduced me to a curse — crack." He described how at 14 years old, he was unknowingly given a blunt "laced with crack," and from then on "the monster was born."
Despite struggling with drug addiction for years, DMX went on to say that "drugs were a symptoms of a bigger problem." He spoke about how taking care of his mental health was important to his sobriety and well-being.
DMX encouraged people to open up and talk about their problems
While drug addiction has been part of DMX’s struggles, it did not come alone. In the UPROXX interview, he opened up about blocking out childhood traumas, but went on to say that there is only so much you can block out "before you run out of space." While initially blocking out traumatic events at a young age may have protected him, later in life he came to realize the importance of "letting stuff out." He said, "I learned I had to deal with things that hurt me, that I didn’t deal with when they hurt, when they happened." Once he started dealing with issues from his childhood and onwards, he was able to take better care of himself.
One barrier to getting help sooner was his environment. DMX opened up about how "in the hood" no one wanted to help with talking or listening, because "Talking about your problems is looked at as a sign of weakness, when actually it’s one of the bravest things you can do. Put it on the table, chop it up and just let it out." He stressed the importance of talking things out, not bottling them up, and sharing them with the right person. He also emphasized the courage and bravery it takes to open up about your struggles in the first place — something relatable to millions of people around the world.
DMX’s current brush with death is not his first
While Simmons’ current condition remains critical and the future is uncertain, it is unfortunately not the first time he has had a near-death experience. In 2016, the then-45-year-old, collapsed in a hotel parking lot and was found unresponsive and without a pulse (via Fox News). After initially receiving CPR by cops who arrived on the scene, a medic injected Simmons with Narcan, the anti-opioid medication saving thousands of people from drug overdoses. He was rushed to the hospital and thankfully survived.
Often times, people believe that drug addiction and overdoses only affect celebrities, but the United States has been battling a drug epidemic for years. Addiction does not care whether you are rich or poor, famous or an average Joe, happy or sad. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018 over 67,000 people died from a drug overdose. They also determined that between 2012 and 2018, overdoses due to cocaine and psychostimulants increased by three and five times respectively.
Simmons’ children come to his side
While Simmons remains in a vegetative state, his friends and family are rallying to support and encourage him. It was reported by the New York Post that some of the rapper’s 15 children were amongst visitors since his hospitalization. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, only one visitor is allowed in at a time.
An official statement from Simmons’ rep read, "At this time he remains in ICU in critical condition. Earl has been a warrior his entire life. This situation represents yet another road he must conquer. The Simmons Family appreciates the overwhelming outpouring of heartfelt love, encouragement, support and prayers for Earl. Earl is someone whose life and music have been a source of inspiration and strength to so many people around the world. It is reassuring to see his fans return that same passion and energy to him during his time of need."
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction be sure to reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This national helpline is "a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders."