Gangsta’s Paradise Rapper Coolio Has Died Aged 59

Rapper Coolio Dead: The singer, known for his iconic hit Gangsta's Paradise, has died at 59.
Credit: Alamy

‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ rapper Coolio has died aged 59. 

The artist, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was found unresponsive on his friend’s bathroom floor.

His longtime manager Jerez Posey said the exact cause of his death has not been confirmed yet, but paramedics believe it could be a cardiac arrest.

Coolio started making music in the 1980s but made a name for himself with the 1995 classic ‘Gangsta’s Paradise,’ which was used for the film Dangerous Minds starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

It stayed three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.

‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance and was the best-selling single of 1995.

It was also charted at 85 in Billboard’s Greatest Songs Of All Time.

‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ also recently passed a billion streams on Spotify.

Coolio also had a string of other successful hits such as ‘Fantastic Voyage’, ‘Rollin With My Homies’, and ‘Too Hot’. 

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Over his career, he released eight studio albums and won an American Music Award along with three MTV Video Music Awards.

The rapper had been touring with Vanilla Ice and Young MC, and they had performed in Texas a few nights before.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media after the news of Coolio’s death broke.

NBA superstar Karl Anthony-Towns tweeted: “RIP to a Legend.”

His tour partner Vanilla Ice shared: I’m freaking out I just heard my good friend Coolio passed away.”

Rapper and actor LL Cool J posted: “Rest in power my brother. Coolio Love & Respect.”

Actor Rob Schneider shared a photo of the pair and tweeted: “Rest In Peace Coolio! A true legend and nice man. My heart goes out to your family and friends. So glad we got to hang and have some laughs.”

“This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry,” shared rapper and actor Ice Cube.

Comedian Weird Al Yankovic also paid tribute to Coolio by posting a photo of the pair embracing one another with the caption: “RIP Coolio.”

He famously parodied ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ with ‘Amish Paradise’. 

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At the time, it was believed that Coolio had not given Yankovic permission to borrow his song, however, since then, the pair made amends.

Before being a musician, Coolio worked as a volunteer firefighter and airport security before pursuing music full-time in 1987.

The rapper also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in the UK in 2009, where he finished in third place.

Our thoughts are with Coolio’s family and friends during this time.

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.