coolio, "Gangsta’s Paradise" rapper, dead at 59

Coolio, the rapper known for his 90s hip-hop songs such as “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died aged 59.

1996 MTV Video Music Awards Show
Coolio during 1996 MTV Video Music Awards Show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Jeff Kravitz

The cause of death has not yet been confirmed. Coolio’s longtime manager and friend, Jarez, confirmed the news of his death to CBS News.

Los Angeles Police Department launched an investigation into the death after she was called to a home in the West Adams neighborhood around 4 p.m. They do not believe that there is any malicious intent.

A Coolio representative issued a statement regarding the icon’s death, which read:

“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and customer, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon. He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be greatly missed,” said a statement from one of Coolio’s representatives. “Thank you to everyone around the world who listened to his music and to everyone who reached out regarding his passing. Keep Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in 1963, the Compton-based rapper rose to fame with his 1994 debut album, “It Takes a Thief,” which featured the hit song “Fantastic Voyage.”

His most famous album, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ followed in 1995. The album’s title track, of the same name, is considered one of the most successful rap songs of all time, certified triple platinum by the RIAA. The song was featured in the successful feature film ‘Dangerous Minds’.

The song earned Coolio the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1996, as well as the American Music Awards Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist the same year.

Coolio also provided the theme song for the well-known children’s program “Kenan & Kel”, which ran on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000.

He continued to produce music until his last studio album was released in 2009. Since then, he had appeared in a number of films and TV shows, often as himself.

After news of his death was confirmed, fellow hip-hop icons Ice Cube, LL Cool J and MC Hammer expressed their condolences.

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