Coolio Has Died At 59

September 29, 2022 / Posted by:

The Grammys In Memoriam is already going to be 896 hours long, rightfully so, and now it sadly has gotten longer. Because Coolio, the Grammy-winning legend who gave us Fantastic Voyage and Gangsta’s Paradise, died suddenly yesterday. Coolio was only 59.

Coolio’s manager, Jarez Posey, confirmed the awful news to TMZ. According to Jarez, Coolio died while visiting a friend in L.A. yesterday afternoon. Coolio’s friend found him on the bathroom floor and called the paramedics. The paramedics tried to revive Coolio but could not, and he was pronounced dead. Foul play is not suspected, and Jarez says that paramedics believe he went into cardiac arrest. Coolio’s rep gave this statement about his tragic death:

“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away Wednesday afternoon. He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

Coolio was born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in Pennsylvania. Coolio’s family later moved to Compton, CA where he went to Compton Community College. Coolio worked security at LAX and as a volunteer firefighter while trying to get into the L.A. rap scene. Coolio released a few singles and was part of rapper WC’s group WC and the Maad Circle before signing with Tommy Boy records in 1994. Coolio and Tommy Boy wasted no time in putting him out there, and his debut solo album, It Takes a Thief, was released that same year. The album’s first single, Fantastic Voyage, which sampled the Lakeside song of the same name, was a hit. I can confirm that since I awkwardly shook my shit to it at several awkward junior high school dances:

Coolio didn’t slow down and kept the hits coming. AND HOW! A year after his debut album was released, his second album, Gangsta’s Paradise, came out. The title track was the album’s first single and was also the star of the Dangerous Minds soundtrack. Gangsta’s Paradise not only became Coolio’s biggest hit of all-time but it also became a classic. Gangsta’s Paradise, featuring singer L.V., spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts and was the biggest-selling single of 1995. It won several awards including the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. Here’s Coolio and L.V. performing the song at the 1995 Billboard Awards with Stevie Wonder, whose 1976 song Pasttime Paradise was sampled on the track.

1995 was the Year of Coolio. He had the biggest song of the year, and his songs were featured in two of the most popular movies of the year: Dangerous Minds and Clueless. Coolio is now rollin’ with Brittany Murphy in heaven:

After the massive success of Gangsta’s Paradise, Coolio did the theme song for the Nickelodeon show Kenan & Kel, and he also got into acting. He made his movie debut in the 1996 movie Dear God and was also in Batman & Robin, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Daredevil, and Dracula 3000. On television, he was in episodes of Martin, All That, the Dangerous Minds TV show, The Nanny, Malcolm & Eddie, Arli$$, Futurama, Celebrity Fear Factor, Charmed, Celebrity Big Brother, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Celebrity Wife Swap. And Coolio could cook! He had his own web-based cooking show, Cookin’ with Coolio.

Coolio is survived by his six children and one granddaughter.

Here are some of the tributes to Coolio:

The last thing that Coolio posted on Instagram was a clip from his performance at the Roundup Music Venue in Boerne, TX on September 24:

Rest in paradise, Coolio.

Pic: Jörg Carstensen/DPA/Cover Images

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