Rapper and actor Coolio, best known for his Grammy-winning “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died at the age of 59. No official cause has been released.
Coolio, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr., rose to fame in the hip-hop world in the mid-90s after signing with Tommy Boy Records. His debut album, “It Takes a Thief”, featured his first hit single, “Fantastic Voyage”. But his biggest song is undoubtedly “Gangsta’s Paradise”, featured on the album of the same name, but also most prominently on the soundtrack to Dangerous minds. Other major hits from his music career include “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New), “CU When U Get There” and “Ooh La La.”
Coolio was on tour as recently as this summer.
According to TMZ, Coolio was found dead in a friend’s bathroom “no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene.”
In a simple statement, Coolio’s talent manager said, “We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away Wednesday afternoon. He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be deeply missed. Please keep Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
Tributes have been tumbles in from music industry icons. MC Hammer called him “One of the nicest guys I’ve ever known”while Ice Cube recalled, “I am a witness[ed] first hand, this man’s streak to the top of the industry.” One of the most touching is a simple one from none other than “Weird Al” Yankovic, who was infamously the target of Coolio’s wrath after confusion over his “Amish Paradise” parody. Coolio is portrayed by Lechristopher Williams in the future Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.
Coolio also performed the theme song for Nickelodeon’s Kenan & Kelin addition to appearing in numerous films and television series, including an episode of the short-lived adaptation of Dangerous minds.
“Gangsta’s Paradise” won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance and two MTV Video Music Awards.
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