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Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper, Dies at 59

Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper, Dies at 59

He was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a friend's LA house, his manager Jarez Posey told US media.

Cover Image Credits: GettyImages | Picture by Brad Barket

Coolio, 59, the ’90s Grammy-winning rapper, producer, and actor best known for his 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died, his manager confirmed Wednesday evening.

The rapper’s longtime manager Jarel Posey said that Coolio died around 5 p.m. PT on Wednesday afternoon. According to TMZ, Coolio was found at a friend’s house, reported CNN.

“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon. He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly,” Sheila Finegan, his manager at Trinity Artists International, said in a statement to Variety. “Thank you to everyone worldwide who has listened to his music and to everyone who has been reaching out regarding his passing. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”



 

"As far as what I know now is that he was at a friend’s house and was in his bathroom and had a heart attack," said his manager, Jarez Posey.

Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to the home around 4 p.m. for a death investigation, the department said. It would not confirm the identity of the person who was deceased. The Los Angeles Medical Examiner’s Office will officially release the identity, officials said. No foul play is suspected, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson said.



 

Actor Lou Diamond Phillips also offered his condolences as he recounted some memories with the artist. “I am absolutely stunned. Coolio was a friend and one of the warmest, funniest people I’ve ever met. We spent an amazing time together making Red Water in Capetown and we loved going head to head in the kitchen. He was one of a kind. Epic,Legendary and I’ll miss him,” Phillips said in a tweet.



 

Former NBA player Matt Bonner also recalled time spent with Coolio, saying in a Twitter post the rapper was a “huge hoops fan… we hosted him at a game a few years back… biggest crowd of all-time at a Spurs Overtime concert.”



 

Coolio won a Grammy for "Gangsta’s Paradise," which was released in 1995 and spent three weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 list. He shot to fame with the hit and won a Grammy for best solo rap performance the next year. In the age of streaming, it has continued to live on. In July 2022, the song reached a milestone of one billion views on YouTube. “It’s one of those kinds of songs that transcends generations,” he said in a recent interview. “I didn’t use any trendy words…I think it made it timeless.” Over his career, Coolio sold more than 17 million records, according to his website.

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. on Aug. 1, 1963, in Pennsylvania, Coolio later moved to Compton, Calif. where he joined the hip-hop group WC and the Maad Circle in 1991. A few years later, in 1994, Coolio signed with Tommy Boy Records and released his debut album “It Takes a Thief.” Catapulted by its lead single “Fantastic Voyage,” “It Takes a Thief” peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and was certified platinum.

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