Coolio, "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper, dead at 59

Coolio, "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper, dead at 59

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Coolio, the rapper known for 90s hip-hop anthems like “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died at 59 years old. 

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 a death investigation after being called to a home in the West Adams neighborhood at around 4 p.m. They do not believe there are any signs of foul play. 

A representative for Coolio issued a statement on the icon’s death, which said: 

“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,” a statement issued by one of Coolio’s representatives said. “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, the Compton-based rapper rose to fame with his debut album “It Takes a Thief” in 1994, which featured hit song “Fantastic Voyage.” 

He followed up with his most-known album, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” in 1995. The album’s title track, bearing the same name, has been regarded as one of the most successful rap songs of all time, certified triple platinum by 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 in 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 final studio album was released in 2009. He had since appeared in a number of movies and television shows, often as himself. 

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

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