Fact check: No evidence DMX's heart attack was caused by COVID-19 vaccine

McKenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY
·5 min read

The claim: DMX received COVID-19 vaccine days before heart attack

Many fans recently took to social media to pay tribute to iconic hip-hop artist DMX – real name Earl Simmons – who died April 10 at 50 years old, following a heart attack and a week on life support in White Plains, New York.

Celebrity gossip sites and social media users used DMX's death to promote an unfounded rumor that he received the COVID-19 vaccine days before his heart attack, suggesting a correlation between the two.

The claim originated in an April 8 article published by MediaTakeOut headlined, "DMX Received Covid Vaccine Days Before Heart Attack - Family Says NO DRUGS! (EXCLUSIVE)."

The piece cites an unnamed DMX family member who allegedly told the outlet the rapper got the vaccine in New York once it became available for people over 50 years old. The family member "suspects" his heart attack was a reaction to the vaccine, the article claimed

Different media outlets such as Daily Post USA and Washington News Post picked up the same story, while users across Facebook and Instagram shared a screenshot of the article's headline.

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No evidence DMX received vaccine

New York-based lawyer Murray Richman, who has represented DMX for decades, confirmed to USA TODAY DMX did not receive the COVID-19 vaccine a week before his cardiac arrest, as the article claims. He wasn't sure if DMX received the vaccine before that period; New York residents 50 and older were eligible beginning March 22.

There is no evidence that DMX's cardiac arrest was connected to the coronavirus vaccine, and the only source included in the report from MediaTakeOut is an unnamed family member, which cannot be verified.

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According to Gossip Cop, which found several instances of false stories on the site, MediaTakeOut does not "have a stellar record when it comes to reporting on celebrity news."

In an emailed statement, founder and editor of MediaTakeOut Fred Mwangaguhunga said the outlet stands "by our reputation, and by the quotes in the article."

Washington News Post, Daily Post USA and the social media users did not respond to requests for comment.

The exact cause of the rapper's heart attack remains unclear. On April 3, Richman told the Associated Press he could not confirm whether drugs were involved and was not sure what caused the heart attack.

Further, officials at White Plains Hospital made no mention of a COVID-19 vaccine in their statement, saying he died "after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest" according to News 12.

This is not the first time a celebrity's death has been falsely linked to the COVID-19 vaccine in attempt to cast doubt on the shot's safety and efficacy.

Claims that the coronavirus vaccine contributed to the deaths of baseball legend Hank Aaron and Hall of Fame boxer Marvin Hagler have been previously debunked by USA TODAY.

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Deaths wrongly correlated to COVID-19 vaccine

To suggest DMX's death is correlated to the vaccine, MediaTakeOut news includes a misleading line that says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "received only 2,794 reports of death among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine."

However, this suggests a wrongful correlation between the two. The CDC states a review of medical records, autopsies and death certificates related to reports "revealed no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths."

The CDC says the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System "has not detected patterns in cause of death that would indicate a safety problem with COVID-19 vaccines."

Lili Zhao, a research associate professor in biostatistics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, told USA TODAY that because VAERS is a self-report system, submitting a report "does not mean that the vaccine caused or contributed to the death.”

This week, the Food and Drug Administration and CDC recommended a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after reports of blood clots in a small number of people who received it. The CDC and FDA are reviewing six reported cases out of nearly 7 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines administered in the U.S. One woman died, and one was hospitalized in critical condition.

Claims that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to reports of death in the U.S. have been previously debunked.

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Our rating: False

The claim that DMX received a COVID-19 vaccine a week before his heart attack is FALSE, based on our research. DMX's attorney Murray Richman confirmed that did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine a week before his cardiac arrest. Even if the rapper did receive the vaccine at one point, it is misleading to claim that the shot was the cause of his death.The CDC states that it has not identified a correlation between reported patient deaths and COVID-19 vaccines. Further, the only source of information for this claim is an unverified anonymous family member.

Our fact-check sources:

Contributing: Adrianna Rodriguez and Elizabeth Weiss, USA TODAY

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: No evidence DMX's heart attack was caused by COVID vaccine