Gangsta’s Paradise rapper Coolio dies aged 59

Gangsta’s Paradise rapper Coolio dies aged 59

Rapper Coolio, who had one of the biggest hits of the 90s with the massive global smash Gangsta’s Paradise, has reportedly died aged 59.

TMZ reports the rapper died on Wednesday at a friend’s house in Los Angeles, with his manager telling the outlet Coolio – real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr. – had excused himself to use the bathroom.

When he didn’t return, the friend went to check on him and found him laying on the floor. Paramedics were called but were unable to revive the star, with cardiac arrest the suspected cause of death. No official cause has yet been determined, but TMZ reports there do not appear to be any signs of foul play.

Coolio released his first album It Takes A Thief in 1994, scoring a US top five hit with breakthrough single Fantastic Voyage. But it was the following year when his song for the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer movie Dangerous Minds catapulted him into global stardom.

Gangsta’s Paradise hit number one in dozens countries worldwide – here in Australia, it stayed in the top spot for 14 weeks, while in Coolio’s home country of the US, it became the top-selling single of 1995, shifting more than five million copies. Coolio would go on to win a Grammy and two MTV Video Music Awards for the Stevie Wonder-sampling hit.

While he would never repeat that chart-topping success, Coolio did enjoy further hit singles: most notably, 1997’s C U When U Get There was a global top 10 hit, and he continued releasing albums up until what was to be his final full-length musical release in 2009.

And he also continued performing regularly – here he is on September 18 onstage at Chicago’s Rio Fest 2022, in what was to be one of his final public performances:

He was also a prolific actor, appearing in dozens of films, sitcoms and in recent years, starring in his own string of reality shows including Cookin’ With Coolio and Coolio’s Rules.

But his career was also marred by several well-documented run-ins with the law: In 1999, a German court convicted him of being an accessory to robbery and causing bodily injury. In 2009, he was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after he was found to be in possession of crack cocaine. In 2016, he was arrested at the same airport after allegedly trying to smuggle a loaded firearm through security.

Coolio is survived by his ten children. It’s reported that four were from his 1996 four-year marriage to ex-wife Josefa Salinas, while six were from other relationships. (

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