LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Coolio, the rapper who was among the biggest names in hip-hop in the 1990s with hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 59.
Coolio’s agent Sheila Finegan confirmed the rapper’s death to Eyewitness News. Manager Jarez Posey said he died at a friend’s home in Los Angeles that afternoon.
The cause of death was not immediately clear.
“He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be deeply missed,” Finegan said in a statement. “Thank you to everyone around the world who has listened to his music and to everyone who has reached out about his death.”
A police source told Eyewitness News that a death investigation has been launched and there are no obvious signs of foul play.
Coolio won a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film “Dangerous Minds,” which sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.”
During his career, which began in the late 1980s, he was nominated for five more Grammys.
Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in Monessen, Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh, Coolio moved to Compton, California, where he attended community college. He worked as a volunteer firefighter and in airport security before turning to the hip-hop scene full-time.
His career began in 1994 with the release of his debut album It Takes a Thief on Tommy Boy Records. Its opener “Fantastic Voyage” would reach #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
A year later, “Gangsta’s Paradise” became the #1 single.
Coolio was also known for the songs “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” and “CU When U Get There”.
He was married to Josefa Salinas from 1996 to 2000. They had four children together.
Social media lit up with reactions to the unexpected death.
Pfeiffer wrote that she was “heartbroken” upon hearing of the rapper’s death, and remembered him as “nothing but merciful.”
Snoop Dogg posted a photo of him and Coolio on Instagram with the caption: “Gangstas Paradise. RIP”
“This is sad news. I’ve witnessed firsthand this man’s fight to the top of the industry,” Ice Cube posted on Twitter. “Rest In Peace @Coolio.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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https://abc7.com/coolio-dead-rapper-dies-los-angeles/12277154/ Coolio, rapper known from “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage”, dies at the age of 59 in Los Angeles