The late rapper DMX was remembered by his ex-wife Tashera Simmons in a moving tribute video she unveiled on Instagram on Saturday.
Though the two became estranged back in 2005, and they had separated by 2010, Simmons said they remained friends up until the rapper’s death on Friday at age 50.
The clip began as a celebration of her 50th birthday, but she included heartwarming images of the rapper enjoying time with her and his children.
‘Happy, happy birthday to me. April 10, 1971. Wow, what a ride. What a journey,’ Simmons said via narration while sharing some childhood photos of herself.
‘As I close up the last 50 years of my life, I rejoice and I thank God for everything it has taught me. The journey that it took me through. The hurt, the pain, the triumph, the resistance, the resilience, the learning lessons, the relationships, the power.’
She turned the focus toward her recently departed ex-husband DMX.
‘I celebrate my life today grateful to God for the 50 years He has given me. But now I also celebrate my ex-husband, my best friend, my spiritual partner, my mentor. But I also thank God for his life and his peace. And his journey and his life lessons that were passed on and that will live on for generations to come.’
The hitmaker was pictured in vintage photos with his ex-wife, including some photos of the two looking loved up from their wedding in 1999.
She beamed next to him in her white lace wedding gown, while another cute photo showed her feeding him a forkful of their wedding cake.
The photos highlight just how important family was to DMX as he held his children and shared loving embraces with them.
Although much of the video was solely devoted to her own life, Simmons found room for photos of the former couple having fun together, including one picture of him showing her how to ride a four wheeler.
The couple shared four children: Xavier, Tacoma, Praise Mary Ella and Sean.
Simmons announced their separation in 2010, and she filed for divorce in 2010.
Following the rapper’s death tributes popped up across the country to him and his era-defining music.
The artist Armondo Monoletti devoted a mural at Atlanta Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark to remember DMX.
He spray painted a black and white closeup of the musician, along with his professional moniker in stylized red letters.
The New York–born rapper was remembered in his home town with a marquee on the iconic Apollo Theater marking his life and death.
The rapper DMX died aged 50 on Friday, a week after his heart attack and reported overdose.
His family confirmed the news in a statement saying: ‘We are deeply saddened to announce 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 after being placed on life support for the past few days.’
The news came after it was reported Friday that his vital organs had failed, that he had ‘not regained any brain function’ and that his condition had not improved after a series of tests that were performed on Wednesday at White Plains Hospital, New York.
‘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,’ the statement, shared via People, continued. ‘Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever.’
‘We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.’
The tests had reportedly left his family with the agonizing decision over whether to keep the 50-year-old entertainer on life support.
White Plains Hospital released an additional statement which read: ‘White Plains Hospital extends its deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Simmons, as well as his friends and legions of fans who expressed their unwavering support during this difficult time. Earl Simmons passed away peacefully with family present after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest.’
TMZ reported that the tests had proved there was ‘no improvement in brain activity’ since the rapper was first rushed into hospital last Friday, after he was deprived of any oxygen for nearly half an hour.
The test results had been described as ‘not good’ in the Thursday report. His family requested that longtime friend and former manager Steve Rifkind fly to New York on Friday to be by his side.
TMZ reported Monday that some of DMX’s 15 children had been visiting him in the hospital.
Later that same day, a prayer vigil was held by family, friends and fans outside the hospital where DMX was receiving care in White Plains, New York.
DMX has been holding on to life for several days after allegedly overdosing and subsequently having a heart attack.
‘On Friday night, April 2nd, 2021, our brother, son, father, and colleague DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, was admitted to White Plains (NY) Hospital, facing serious health issues,’ the family said through a publicist before his death.
‘We ask that you please keep Earl/DMX and us in your thoughts, wishes, and prayers as well as respect our privacy as we face these challenges.’
Another statement released on Sunday afternoon said the rapper remained in a coma and was on a ventilator.
Simmons’ longtime lawyer, Murray Richman, said the rapper was admitted to the intensive care unit at White Plains Hospital after going into cardiac arrest.
Richman said he could not confirm reports that DMX had overdosed on drugs and was not sure what had caused the heart attack.
‘He had a heart attack. He’s quite ill,’ Richman said. ‘I’m very sad about it, extremely sad. He’s like my son.
‘He’s just a tremendous person, tremendous entertainer, tremendous human being. And so much to offer, so much to say. Not the run-of-the-mill rapper. A person of great depth.’
Sources told TMZ that the star overdosed around 11pm on Friday and was rushed to the hospital.
One relative explained that paramedics tried to resuscitate him for 30 minutes when en route to the hospital, during which time he was deprived of oxygen for an extended period.
Doctors said the lack of oxygen severely affected his brain, with one family member saying ‘It’s not looking good.’
‘Last night Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons was rushed to the hospital after collapsing at home. 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,’ a statement by the family read.
Diane Haughton, the mother of the rapper’s former collaborator Aaliyah, wrote a touching message directed at her late daughter’s friend and his loved ones.
The post read, ‘Earl you had and still have a heart of gold. You and Baby Girl will meet again with all the beautiful people we have lost. Will never forget your kindness. NEVER! Blessing to your family! Eternally!’
‘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.’
Kelly Rowland was among an array of celebrities offering prayers for DMX this weekend. ‘Lord God in Heaven, bless our brother DMX,’ said Rowland, 40, in an emotional video on her Insta Stories this Saturday, ‘I ask that you would bless his family.’
DMX first made a splash in rap music in 1998 with his first studio album It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The multiplatinum selling album was anchored by several hits including Ruff Ryders Anthem, Get At Me Dog and Stop Being Greedy.
The rapper had four other chart-topping albums including …And Then There Was X, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, The Great Depression’ and Grand Champ. He has released seven albums and earned three Grammy nominations.
Towards the late nineties, he was known for being at the forefront of the ‘Ruff Ryders’ era of rap, which was named after a collective of rappers that included soon-to-be superstars in the genre like Eve and Lox.
Along with his music career, DMX paved his way as an actor. He starred in the 1998 film ‘Belly’ and appeared in ‘Romeo Must Die’ a couple years later with Jet Li and the late singer Aaliyah.
DMX and Aaliyah teamed up for the film’s soundtrack song Come Back in One Piece.
Born Earl Simmons in Mount Vernon, New York on December 18, 1970, he was the son of 19 year old Arnett Simmons and 18 year old Joe Barker, and raised in nearby Yonkers.
Earl was the second child of Arnett, who had given birth to a daughter, Bonita, two years prior, as well as one daughter, Shayla, and two stillborn sons after Earl.
Barker reportedly did not want Simmons to keep her son, and cut off almost all contact with the family as soon as Earl was born.
He was brought up in the Jehovah’s Witness faith. According to one biography, he was hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street and suffered minor injuries as a child. DMX has claimed in a past interview that his family could have received as much as $10,000 in a legal settlement, but his mother refused to open a case as she claimed it went against her faith.
By his own account, DMX suffered a trouble childhood, claiming in interviews that he was beaten by his mother and her various boyfriend. Some beatings were said to be so bad that he lost teeth and sustained many injuries.
He eventually found comfort in looking after stray dogs that he would walk late at night, before he was sent to a boys’ home by his mother – where he discovered his love of hip hop music and began performing for friends.
Growing up in Yonkers, New York, DMX took his moniker from the name of a drum machine used in rap songs. When he was 14, an older rapper who had been a mentor tricked him into smoking crack, DMX said in a documentary series broadcast on BET.
‘He created a monster,’ he said. ‘Cocaine almost took my life on a few occasions.’
However, he studied the Bible and prayed before and after every show, he revealed in an interview with GQ. ‘Performing in front of people is beyond a high. It’s beyond a high that any drug could duplicate,’ he said.
The rapper’s intense songs told stories of a complex character’s ‘sins of the streets,’ according to a biography on allmusic.com, which described DMX as a ‘hip-hop Johnny Cash.’
He began performing as early as the ’80s alongside his mentor Ready Ron, but didn’t breakthrough until the nineties when he was signed to Columbia Records imprint Ruffhouse, and featured on records by stars including LL Cool J and Mase, and also the rock band Sum 41.
His debut album was the first of five in a row to top the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. He remains the only rap artist with such a streak.
Rap superstars including Jay-Z, Eminem and even Kanye West have not reached the same milestone as the rapper.
Yet, he was cut short of furthering that record when his 2006 album Year of the Dog… Again, reached the no. 2 spot on the Billboard charts.
His album …And Then There Was X was his biggest seller, certified five-time multiplatinum. DMX released eight albums and was nominated for three Grammys.
DMX earned more than 40 film and television credits, including Belly, Romeo Must Die, and action films Cradle 2 the Grave and Exit Wounds, also contributing music to their soundtracks.
Before he died, his ex-wife Tashera Simmons, with whom he had four children, attended a vigil outside his hospital, where hundreds of fans danced to DMX songs. ‘The love is real,’ she posted on Instagram.
Basketball star LeBron James had tweeted while DMX was in hospital: ‘To one of my fav artist growing up and still to this day DMX, my prayers are with you and sent to the almighty heaven´s above!’
In 2017, DMX pleaded guilty in federal court to avoiding paying $1.7 million in taxes from 2000 to 2005 by shifting money among accounts belonging to managers and associates. He was sentenced to one year in prison.
The rap star’s prior arrest record included charges of animal cruelty, reckless driving, drug possession, weapons charges and probation violations. He served prison time in Arizona and New York.
In the 1998 song Slippin’, DMX rapped: ‘To live is to suffer, But to survive, well, that’s to find meaning in the suffering.’
Tributes from the entertainment world flooded out on Friday, with Missy Elliott tweeting: ‘Even though you had battles you TOUCHED so many through your MUSIC and when you would PRAY so many people FELT THAT!’
She added: ‘This is heavy for the HipHop family but your LEGACY LIVES ON & your SPIRIT. Continued Prayers for X family & friends for STRENGTH/HEALING.’
Others stars paying their respect included Oscar-winners Viola Davis and Halle Berry, rap legend Ice Cube, and NBA star LeBron James.
Rapper Eve, who was mentored by DMX, posted a heartfelt tribute to Instagram on Friday saying: ‘I know that you are in the place of peace you deserve. I will be forever grateful to have known you.’
‘You were one of the most special people I have ever met. Full of humour, talent, wisdom and love and most of all loyalty. This world has lost a REAL ONE but the heavens have gained an ANGEL. May you Rest.’
Meanwhile his longtime label Def Jam said in a statement Friday: ‘Def Jam Recordings and the extended Def Jam family of artists, executives and employees are deeply and profoundly saddened by the loss of our brother Earl ‘DMX’ Simmons.
‘DMX was a brilliant artist and an inspiration to millions around the world. His message of triumph over struggle, his search for the light out of darkness, his pursuit of truth and grace brought us closer to our own humanity.’
The statement concluded: ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and were touched by him. DMX was nothing less than a giant. His legend will live on forever.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Brian Marks, George Stark, and Jenny Stanton