Coolio Dead at 59

Coolio, one of the major stars of the 1990s rap scene, has died. He was 59. The "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper's manager, Jarez, confirmed the performer's death to TMZ Wednesday.

The rapper, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., went to the bathroom at a friend's house late Wednesday. His friend noticed that he had been in the bathroom too long and called for him. Eventually, the friend went into the room and found Coolio laying on the floor.

The friend called 911. When emergency medical technicians arrived, they pronounced Coolio dead at the scene. Although a cause of death has not been determined, Jarez told TMZ that the paramedics believe he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Coolio was born on Aug. 1, 1963 and was raised in Compton, California. He recorded his first single in 1987, "Whatcha Gonna Do?," but he did not find success until he released his first album, It Takes a Thief, in 1994. The record instantly announced him as a future star thanks to his smash hit "Fantastic Voyage." 

In 1995, Coolio's fame exploded with the release of "Gangsta's Paradise." The song began an international success after it was featured in the film Dangerous Minds. He originally did not intend to include it on an album, but the song's success made it impossible for him not to. In November 1995, Gangsta's Paradise the alum was released and it was also a big hit. "Too Hot" and "1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin' New)" also turned into hit singles. "Gangsta's Paradise" earned Coolio the 1996 Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. 

"Gangsta's Paradise" continues to be influential. The song was recently featured in the 2019 Sonic the Hedgehog movie and people continue to watch the original music video. In July, Billboard reported that the video became the latest to reach 1 billion views on YouTube.

"Yo, what's up y'all? We just hit one billion," Collio said on Instagram in July. "I want to thank everybody for all the years of love and being there for me. I hope I got you through some good times and got you through some bad times, cuz he d—n sure got me through some… it's on and it's on and it's on."


Although Coolio could never recreate the commercial success he saw in the mid-1990s, he remained an active artist. His song "Aw, Here It Goes!" was heard on Nickelodeon for years as the opening for Kenan & Kel. He also appeared on multiple reality shows and frequently guest-starred as himself on TV series. He also continued releasing albums independently, with his final one, From the Bottom 2 the Top, being released in July 2009.

Coolio was married to Josefa Salinas from 1996 to 2000. They had four children – daughters Artisha, Brandi, and Jackie, and son Artis – together. Four days before his death, Coolio posted footage from his final concert on Instagram, where his fans are now sharing their condolences.