In February 2018, rumors spread online that the 47-year-old rapper DMX had died. The speculation was partly fuelled by a widely-shared prank Facebook post, and partly by confusion over older reports about an alleged drug overdose.
As of 16 February 2018, DMX is alive. At the time of publication, the rapper and producer (whose real name is Earl Simmons) is incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, after being remanded into custody on 30 January, in connection with felony tax evasion charges.
Speaking to us by phone, Simmons’s attorney Murray Richman confirmed that his client is alive and well, and that he had met and spoken with him more than once during the week of 12 February 2018. Asked whether DMX had fallen ill or been hospitalized recently, Richman said “he certainly has not.”
The celebrity gossip web site TMZ reported that Simmons had violated the conditions of his probation by consuming alcohol and narcotics while visiting St. Louis, Missouri, where he had performed on 20 January.
Court records show that on 30 January 2018, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ordered DMX to be remanded into custody, and prison records show that he was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, as of 16 February 2018.
Simmons’s probation conditions mean he must undergo drug rehabilitation treatment, and ask the judge for special permission any time he wants to leave the state of New York. While travelling, he must be accompanied by a drug counsellor.
On 13 February 2018, Facebook user Tyrone Williams posted a distasteful prank death notice for the rapper, writing:
Earl Simmons AKA “DMX” peacefully passed by a home in Los Angeles, California. Feb 13, 2018.
The post was shared more than 50,000 times within a few days.
Williams later confirmed the post was a fake, pointing out that he had not (technically speaking) claimed Simmons was dead.
Reading is very fundamental 💯 A few thousand people think DMX is dead right now smh. I never even mentioned death or him dying in the post.
The post claims DMX “passed by,” not passed away.
However, those reports are two years old. In February 2016, Simmons was resuscitated by police officers after being found unconscious outside a hotel in Yonkers, New York. Witnesses claimed he had had a drug overdose, but Simmons and his family denied this, claiming he had suffered an asthma attack.
In March 2017, federal prosecutors indicted Simmons on 14 felony counts of tax evasion and failure to file tax returns for multiple years. Simmons initially pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges, but has changed his plea to guilty for the second count — “evasion of payment of income taxes.”