American rapper Coolio dies at 59

Coolio, the American rapper best known for the 1995 hit "Gangsta's Paradise," has died, his manager announced Wednesday. He was 59 years old.

LOS ANGELES — Coolio, the American rapper best known for the 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died, his manager announced Wednesday. He was 59 years old.

The Grammy winner has died in Los Angeles. A cause of death was not immediately given.

Coolio’s longtime friend and manager Jarez Posey confirmed the news to AFP without giving further details.

Posey told celebrity news site TMZ that Coolio was found unconscious in the bathroom of a friend’s house on Wednesday afternoon.

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. on August 1, 1963 in Pennsylvania, the artist spent most of his life in Compton, Calif, where he attended community college and worked in airport security, among other things, before find success in rap.

Coolio began his music career in California in the late 1980s and dug his roots into the Los Angeles scene in 1994 when he signed to Tommy Boy Records.

His single “Fantastic Voyage,” from debut studio album It Takes a Thief, peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

But it was “Gangsta’s Paradise” the following year that made Coolio a household name.

The rapper rose to worldwide fame in 1995 when he released the soundtrack song for the movie “Dangerous Minds” starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

It was the top single of the year and won Coolio a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance for the track at the awards gala that followed.

Featuring a hook to Stevie Wonder’s 1976 track “Pastime Paradise,” from that artist’s seminal “Songs In The Key of Life,” the hit sold millions of copies worldwide and topped the charts in 16 countries.

“It’s about life because you also live in gangster heaven,” Coolio said of his song during a speech on The Howard Stern Show in 1995.

  • AFP/ additional report by TMZ
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