Social media posts paying tribute to rapper DMX began to swirl today amid confusion over whether the 50-year-old had died after suffering a heart attack and reported drug overdose last week.
But the source of the confusion was an Instagram post from a friend of the rapper, comedian Luenell, who had posted to her stories that her friend was "gone" as he remains in a critical condition in a New York hospital.
Clarifying her post, Luenell wrote, "When your spirit leaves and your organs fail you. The body becomes just a shell. One becomes wrapped in the lords arms. That's what 'I' call gone. I'm sorry to all."
His long-time friend and manager Steve Rifkind has confirmed he is still on life support.
A number of stars paid tribute to the rapper, believing he had died, including hip hop artists Amine and Lil Nas X, as well as wrestler Thea Trinidad. They have since deleted their tweets.
After the Twitter confusion, Rifkind took to Instagram with a video message to clarify DMX is still alive, urging fans to stop posting "RIP" messages for the sake of his family.
The star, whose real name is Earl Simmons, is in a critical condition with "some brain activity" after being rushed to hospital late last Friday night.
He suffered a heart attack reportedly triggered by a drug overdose around 11pm last Friday and needed to be revived "several times" by paramedics.
According to website TMZ, his family are facing the difficult decision of whether to turn off his life support after tests showed no improvement in brain activity.
The publication reported he was in a coma. The family had asked Rifkind to fly to New York on Friday to be by his side. It comes after hundreds of fans, friends and extended family crowded outside the hospital on Monday night to pray for the music icon.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, his family members have not all been allowed to enter the ICU, the NY Post reported on Monday.
TMZ first reported sources close to the rapper who claimed a drug overdose triggered the heart attack. DMX's lawyer Murray Richman confirmed the heart attack to Pix11, but did not confirm an overdose.
"He has been taken off the life support system and is breathing on his own. But we are concerned," Richman said earlier this week. "It would be disingenuous of me to suggest I'm not a worried man at this particular point."
Angelo Ellerbee, a rep for the star, told ET: "He is in a medical state from which I don't think he will recover."
Another source told TMZ that the artist is in a "vegetative state" and doctors had cautioned that he might not make it.
One more revealed he had recently battled coronavirus, and was struggling with a drug addiction relapse.
"This is a very difficult time for the family. They are standing by his bedside, holding his hand and praying. They are really in prayer mode," the source explained.
DMX burst onto the rap scene in the 1990s and has released seven studio albums. He has three Grammy nominations to his name, two for Rap Solo Performance and one for Rap Album. His best-selling album … And Then There Was X, released in 1999, was certified five-time multi-platinum.
Not only is he prolific in the music world, the 50-year-old has a whopping 15 children.
In 2019, he told GQ he even has a Bible verse about being a procreator tattooed on his neck. "Exodus 1:7. It says, 'Be fruitful and multiply and your children will inherit the world.'"
That verse inspired the name for his youngest child with fiance Desiree Lindstrom. Their son Exodus was born in 2016, but details about his other kids are somewhat scant. The rapper once told podcast The Breakfast Club that he has 15 children with nine different women.