The American rapper DMX was hospitalised on Saturday evening after falling ill, his New York-based lawyer Murray Richman said.
“He had a heart attack. He’s quite ill,” Richman said.
Richman said he could not confirm reports that DMX, 50, overdosed on drugs and was not sure what caused the heart attack.
“I’m very sad about it, extremely sad. He’s like my son,” Richman said.
“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.”
Earlier reports had said DMX, 50, had been on life support, but Richman told Pix11 he was later breathing on his own.
A representative for the rapper told TMZ that the rapper “remains in ICU in critical condition. Earl has been a warrior his entire life. This situation represents yet another road he must conquer … the Simmons family appreciates the overwhelming outpouring of heartfelt love, encouragement, support and prayers for Earl.”
DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, has had five US No 1 albums, featuring hip-hop anthems such as Party Up (Up in Here), What’s My Name and X Gon’ Give It to Ya. His first two albums were released months apart in 1998, each going multi-platinum and attracting critical acclaim for bringing a gothic darkness to an increasingly glitzy rap scene. He has released seven albums in all, and earned three Grammy nominations.
He began an acting career in 1998 in the crime drama Belly, alongside hip-hop stars including Nas and Method Man. Specialising in crime thrillers, he took a lead role alongside Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds (2000) and another with Jet Li for Cradle 2 the Grave (2003).
Over the years, DMX has battled with substance abuse. The rapper canceled a series of shows to check himself into a rehabilitation facility in 2019. In an Instagram post, his team said he apologised for the cancelled shows and thanked his fans for the continued support.
In 2015, he was sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay child support. Simmons has 15 children. The most recent, Exodus, was born in 2016.
In 2018, he served a year-long sentence for tax evasion.
Last year, DMX faced off against Snoop Dogg in a Verzuz battle, which drew more than 500,000 viewers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report