Coolio, the American rapper most known for his 1995 hit single "Gangsta's Paradise," has died at age 59.
Coolio's manager Jarez Posey first shared news of Coolio's death with TMZ, saying the musician had gone into the bathroom at a friend's house on Wednesday (September 28) and was later found on the floor unresponsive. His cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Sheila Finegan, Coolio's manager at Trinity Artists International, said in a statement to EW: "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. 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."
Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in 1963, Coolio started making music in the 1980s, gaining notoriety in the Los Angeles hip-hop community. He first achieved success with his 1994 debut album It Takes a Thief, which included the hit "Fantastic Voyage." Chrysler would later use the platinum song and Coolio himself in a 2018 commercial for the Pacifica minivan.
In 1995, Coolio appeared on the soundtrack to the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds with the hit "Gangsta's Paradise," which samples Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise." One of the most successful rap songs of all time, it was the top song of 1995, spending three weeks at No. 1, and winning the 1996 Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. Over the years, the song has been included in a number of "best of the '90s" lists and remains one of the most recognizable songs of the decade.
Coolio's second studio album, also titled Gangsta's Paradise, was released after the Dangerous Minds soundtrack. It would become his best-selling album to date, moving two million copies and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.
In total, Coolio recorded eight studio albums and was nominated for six Grammys. He also dabbled in acting, appearing in a number of films and TV shows, including Batman & Robin, Martin, The Nanny, Celebrity Big Brother, and All That. Famously, Coolio also recorded the theme song to Kenan & Kel.
Coolio is survived by his six children and ex-wife, author Josefa Salinas.
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Article Image: Coolio sits on a sofa in 2000. (s_bukley via DepositPhotos.)