We are sad to report that Coolio, the Grammy-winning rapper best known for hits like “Fantastic Voyage” and “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died at the age of 59.
TMZ reports that the MC was visiting a friend in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 28) when he passed. His longtime manager, Jarez, said that Coolio went into the bathroom but didn’t come out. After a while, his friend called for him, and eventually went to the bathroom. It was there that he found Coolio laying on the floor. Paramedics were called, but Coolio was pronounced dead at the scene. An official cause of death has not been determined, but paramedics believe that he may have suffered cardiac arrest.
Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. on August 1, 1963, the Pennsylvania-born, Compton-raised rapper hit the music scene with a bang in the 1990s. His commercial debut single, his take on funk group Lakeside’s 1981 hit, “Fantastic Voyage,” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1994. He would follow that with the monster hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise” featuring L.V., which was the lead single of the Dangerous Minds soundtrack. Coolio’s take on Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” would become one of the biggest selling rap singles of all time. It stayed at #1 on the Hot 100 for three weeks and earned Coolio a Grammy in 1996 for Best Rap Solo Performance. It would also spawn a Weird Al Yankovic parody, “Amish Paradise,” which Coolio didn’t agree to at first. Thankfully, they reached an understanding afterward.
Following his 90s heyday, Coolio would go on to appear on various reality shows, including Celebrity Big Brother and Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. He would also find his footing as a chef, releasing a cookbook and launching his own web series, Cookin’ With Coolio.
Coolio leaves behind six children.