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Coolio, Grammy-Winning ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper, Dies at 59



Coolio, who rose to fame in the ’90s with hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died.

His friend and longtime manager, Jarez Posey, confirmed to TMZ that the rapper passed away in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon. He was 59.

According to TMZ, Coolio was visiting a friend when he went to the bathroom and didn’t come out. His friend grew concerned and went to check on him, only to find Coolio laying on the floor.


The friend called EMTs, who arrived and pronounced Coolio dead on the scene. Paramedics suspect he suffered cardiac arrest, but an official cause of death has not been determined.

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., Coolio moved from Monessen, Pennsylvania, to Compton, California, where he released his first single in 1987. In 1994, he dropped his debut studio album, It Takes a Thief, featuring the single “Fantastic Voyage,” which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

But his biggest hit came in 1995 with the classic “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was featured on the soundtrack to Dangerous Minds starring Michelle Pfeiffer. The song spent three weeks at No. 1 and won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Coolio’s 1995 album Gangsta’s Paradise also spawned other hits including “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” and “Too Hot.” His most recent album, From the Bottom 2 the Top, was released in 2009.


Police have opened an investigation into his death. There does not appear to be signs of foul play, but the coroner will make a final determination following an autopsy.

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