DMX officially died from a cocaine-induced heart attack that caused a lack of blood circulation to his brain, a source from the Westchester County medical examiner’s office told Vulture. “It was cardiac arrest for a period of time, so there was no circulation to the brain,” the source said, later explaining that acute cocaine intoxication had “caused this chain of events.”
The “Party Up (Up in Here)” rapper, whose legal name was Earl Simmons, died on April 9 at age 50 in Westchester County, New York. Simmons was hospitalized on April 2. It was previously reported that he had suffered a drug overdose and a heart attack, though specifics were inconsistent.
An analysis of Simmons’s urine showed the presence of cocaine. The medical examiner’s office did not perform an autopsy, as they had determined the cause of death based upon documentation furnished by medical professionals and police, the source said.
The source explained that someone had called for emergency help at 10:03 p.m. on April 2, and paramedics were dispatched one minute later. They arrived on the scene at 10:09 p.m. and started trying to revive Simmons at 10:10. There was about a 30-to-40-minute interval between the arrival of paramedics and Simmons’s arrival at the hospital. Although his heart was revived at one point and there was a pulse, his brain was already dead.
“His death literally happened immediately because the brain was dead,” the source added.
“So obviously, there were a number of days where he was on ventilatory support and so forth in the hospital,” the source said. “However, he was diagnosed brain-dead early on … He never woke up from [a] coma.”
Murray Richman, Simmons’s longtime attorney, slammed unsubstantiated rumors that his death had anything to do with the COVID-19 vaccine. “Persons who made that statement had no basis to formulate a belief,” Richman said. He also confirmed that Simmons never had COVID nor did he receive the vaccine.
Following Simmons’s death, his family said in a statement, “Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end.”
“He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever.”
Simmons, who grew up in Yonkers, started performing in 1984. He made his name in the underground rap scene, initially as a beatboxer for Ready Ron and eventually with his own demos and mixtapes.
After Simmons worked with New York City rap titans Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Ma$e, the LOX, and Lil’ Kim in the 1990s, he ultimately signed with Def Jam Recordings. His debut single with Def Jam, “Get at Me Dog,” quickly became a hit, reaching the Hot 100’s Top 40.
He put out his first album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, in May 1998; it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and is considered a 1990s hip-hop classic that solidified Simmons’s characteristically grave subject matter and his raspy voice. His eighth album, Exodus, was posthumously released in May.
With reporting from Justin Curto.