Los Angeles rapper Coolio has died, as reported by TMZ and confirmed by the Associated Press. He was 59 years old.
The rapper, known for multiple smash hits in the mid ’90s including “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” died late Wednesday afternoon at the Los Angeles home of a friend, longtime manager Jarez Posey told the AP.
His cause of death is unclear at this time, but TMZ reported that medics on the scene identified cardiac arrest as the likely cause. His Instagram page shows him performing live only days ago.
Coolio, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., was born on Aug. 1, 1963, and grew up in Compton. His early career success came at a time when Southern California rappers dominated the Billboard charts.
His first two albums, “It Takes a Thief” and “Gangsta’s Paradise,” climbed up the charts and were massive commercial and critical successes.
He won a Grammy for his single of “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was used as the title track to the 1995 film “Dangerous Minds.”
Coolio’s mainstream success launched a prominent acting career, including more than 100 roles, according to the Internet Movie Database.
Younger audiences might better know him from his theme song and intro to the hit Nickelodeon comedy series “Kenan and Kel.”
He also starred in a reality show about parenting called “Coolio’s Rules” and provided a voice for an episode of the animated show “Gravity Falls.”
Ultimately, his career will be remembered for his iconic rap tunes that perfectly encapsulated West Coast hip-hop from the 1990s.
Social media lit up with reactions to the unexpected death, especially from other musicians like fellow West Coast rapper Ice Cube.
“This is sad news,” Ice Cube said on Twitter. “I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace, @Coolio.”
“Weird Al” Yankovic tweeted “RIP Coolio” along with a picture of the two men hugging.
Coolio had said in an interview at the time it was released that he wasn’t cool with Yankovic’s 1996 “Gangsta’s Paradise” parody, “Amish Paradise.” But the two later made peace.