Coolio “touched the world” with his talent and will be “deeply missed” following his death at the age of 59, his management said.
he US rapper, real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr., who was responsible for the 1990 hit Gangsta’s Paradise, died on Wednesday afternoon.
Coolio’s manager at Trinity Artists International, Sheila Finegan, confirmed his death.
“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” the agency said in a statement.
“He touched the world with his talent and we will miss him dearly.
“Thank you to everyone around the world who has listened to his music and to everyone who has reached out about his death.
“Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
According to the US media portal TMZ, the rapper was found lifeless on the bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles.
In addition to his successful music career, Coolio is also known in the UK for his appearances on the reality show Big Brother on Channel 4.
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The rapper finished third in the sixth series of UK Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, losing to broadcaster Terry Christian, who finished second, and presenter and model Ulrika Jonsson, who won.
But along with Jonsson, he joined the cast of Ultimate Big Brother the following year in 2010, the show’s final series to air on Channel 4.
The rapper was born in Pennsylvania but later moved to Compton, California, where he released his first single in 1987.
He recorded “Gangsta’s Paradise” – based on Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise” – for the 1995 film Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeiffer, and it became one of the highest-grossing rap songs of all time.
The track topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and earned Coolio a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.
Pfeiffer said she was “heartbroken” when she heard the news of his death, adding that she remembered him as “nothing but gracious” when they worked together.
“Heartbroken to hear of the death of gifted artist @coolio,” she wrote on Instagram, sharing a clip of the film with the track.
“A life cut way too short.
“I remember he was nothing but lovely. 30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song.
“Sending love and light to his family. Rest in power, Artis Leon Ivey Jr.”
The song was also parodied by US musical comedian Weird Al Yankovic as Amish Paradise, although it was claimed at the time Coolio didn’t give him permission to do so.
However, Coolio stated in interviews that the couple have since made amends.
Yankovic paid his respects to Coolio with a brief tribute on social media.
He shared a picture of the couple hugging and wrote, “RIP Coolio.”
After news of his death broke, officials at Chicago’s Wrigley Field played the hit and Coolio’s Fantastic Voyage across the stadium as the hometown Cubs hosted the Philadelphia Phillies
Coolio was nominated for five more Grammys during his career, which began in the late 1980s.
Heavyweights from the rap world including Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and MC Hammer paid their respects after the news was shared on social media.
Snoop Dogg wrote online: “Gangstas Paradise. REST IN PEACE.”
Former NWA star Ice Cube said he witnessed Coolio’s “grinding to the top of the industry” in his own tribute.
“This is sad news,” the rapper and actor wrote on Twitter.
“I saw firsthand how this man rose to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace @Coolio.”
MC Hammer described Coolio as “one of the nicest guys I know” as he shared a picture of the pair alongside Tupac and Snoop.
American singer Bret Michaels also posted a photo with Coolio, writing, “My deepest condolences to family, friends and fans on the loss of @Coolio. A great guy who will be missed.”
American musician Terrace Martin wrote: “Coolio. Thank you for doing my first world tour. Summer 1999. Rest in love, King.”
Rapper Wetto wrote: “Gangsta’s Paradise was the first rap album my dad let me buy. The clean version at Walmart. RIP Coolio.”
Author Wajahat Ali added, “Coolio is dead. I can’t believe I wrote this. Only 59. If you are Gen X, you know and respect. Gangstas Paradise inshallah.”
Questlove also shared a black and white picture of the rapper on Instagram and wrote, “Peaceful journey bro.”
New York rapper Flava Flav of Public Enemy also lamented the loss of Coolio, writing, “Coolio was the Flav of the West Coast, he was happy to tell everyone that. We should perform together this Tuesday. RIP my friend.”
Ulrika Jonsson, who starred alongside Coolio in both Celebrity Big Brother and Ultimate Big Brother, said the rapper’s death in the US at the age of 59 came as a “shock”.
“My goodness. That’s a shock,” said the 54-year-old TV presenter.
“I spent quite a bit of time with Coolio – he was a misogynist, made a lot of noise; he introduced himself as a chef but my god we laughed so much.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/rapper-coolio-dies-aged-59-michelle-pfeiffer-snoop-dogg-and-ice-cube-among-tributes-to-gangstas-paradise-star-42025692.html Rapper and ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ star Coolio dies aged 59: Michelle Pfeiffer, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube are among those paying tribute to the hip-hop star