In this file photo rapper DMX performs at Masters Of Ceremony 2019 at Barclays Center in New York City. - AFP

Gritty US rapper DMX was hospitalized and on life support Saturday after a heart attack, his lawyer Murray Richman told AFP. "He was hospitalized at 11 o'clock last night at the hospital in White Plains," the New York suburb where he lives, after suffering "a heart attack," Richman, who has represented the rapper for 25 years, told AFP. "As far as I know, he is still on life support," the lawyer added, saying he was "very worried." Richman said he could not confirm a report by entertainment website TMZ that the 50-year-old New Yorker, known for his previous battles with drug addiction, had overdosed.

DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, reigned over the late 1990s and early 2000s with hits including "X Gon' Give It To Ya" and "Party Up." He has released eight albums, his most recent in 2015, and is among hip-hop's darkest stars, laying his inner demons out for the masses in hard-driving anthems that gained him commercial and critical acclaim.

He released his debut major-label single "Get At Me Dog" in 1998 with Def Jam, which came off his first studio album "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot." The album debuted at number one on Billboard's top album chart and boasted another hit single, "Ruff Ryders' Anthem," ushering in commercial success that would last for years.

The artist endured a grim childhood, growing up in housing projects with his mother and five sisters where he suffered abuse, and had continued run-ins with the penal system throughout his life, even after he achieved celebrity. In November 2017, he pleaded guilty to evading $1.7 million in tax payments between 2002 and 2005 and spent a year in prison. DMX has suffered from addiction to drugs including crack, which he has said began as early as age 14.

"I didn't really have anybody to talk to," he said in late 2020 in an emotional interview on Talib Kweli's weekly podcast. "In the hood, nobody wants to hear that... Talking about your problems is viewed as a sign of weakness, when actually it's one of the bravest things you can do. One of the bravest things you can do is put it on the table, chop it up, and just let it out." - AFP