Rapper DMX has died one week after suffering a “catastrophic cardiac arrest”, his family has said.

The 50-year-old, whose real name was Earl Simmons, had been admitted to intensive care in New York on Friday 2 April and was initially placed on life support.

Earlier this week, family, friends and fans had held a vigil outside the hospital.

In a statement announcing his death, his family said relatives had been by his side and described him as “a warrior who fought till the very end”.

Paying tribute, they said: “He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him.” His music, they added, “inspired countless fans across the world, and his iconic legacy will live on forever”.

DMX was signed by Columbia Records in 1992 and released his first album, It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot, in 1998.

It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 albums, and featured hits such as Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, Stop Being Greedy and Get At Me Dog.

More from Dmx

He then followed that album up with four more chart topping albums in a row – And Then There Was X, Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood, The Great Depression and Grand Champ

In all, DMX released seven albums and received three Grammy nominations throughout his career, and collaborated with artists including Jay-Z, Ja Rule and LL Cool J.

Those rappers were all part of rap crews, with DMX heading up the Ruff Ryders collective, which featured Eve, Swizz Beatz and The Lox.

The group saw chart success too, with its Ryde or Die albums.

In 1998, he teamed up with the late Aaliyah on the soundtrack to the film Romeo Must Die – as well as starring in it.

He would later open her tribute music video for Miss You following her death, alongside Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah and Lil’ Kim.

But DMX was not just known for his trailblazing music career – he was affected by his brushes with the law.

Over a period of 10 years he was repeatedly arrested and jailed, and he suffered with a drug addiction.

In 2004 he pleaded guilty after he crashed his SUV through a security gate at New York’s Kennedy Airport while posing as an undercover federal agent.