American rapper Coolio died of a suspected heart attack at age 59 on Wednesday afternoon at a friend’s house in Los Angeles.
Doctors found American rapper Artis Leon Ivey Jr., known as Coolio, passed out at the home of his longtime friend and manager Jarez Posey. Paramedics attempted resuscitation, but ultimately determined Coolio was dead, according to Los Angeles Fire Department captain Eric Scott.
Coolio’s career was marked by great success starting with his debut album, “It Takes a Thief”. Produced by Tommy Boy Records, the 1994 album featured the popular song “Fantastic Voyage”. The 59-year-old rapper was best known for his 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” from the soundtrack to Michelle Pfeiffer’s 1996 Grammy-winning film “Dangerous Minds.” Pfeiffer honored Coolio’s legacy in a Instagram post.
Heartbroken to learn of the passing of talented artist @coolio. A life entirely too short. As some of you may know, I had the good fortune to work with him on Dangerous Minds in 1995. He won a Grammy for his brilliant song on the soundtrack – which I think is the why our film was so successful. I remember he was nothing but gracious. [Thirty] 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.
— @michellepfeifferofficial on Instagram
After the release of his 1995 hit, Coolio’s popularity continued to soar in the mid-1990s during the East Coast and West Coast hip hop rivalry, which involved other big names like Notorious BIG. and Tupac.
The Compton native has come a long way from his early days, after struggling with cocaine addiction in the mid-80s, to getting clean and becoming the only rapper to ever be a firefighter in the mid-90s. with the Los Angeles Times in 1994, Coolio reflected on the time he had spent getting clean as part of firefighter training.
“I wasn’t looking for a career. I was looking for a way to clean up, a way to escape drugs,” he said. “It was going to kill me and I knew I had to stop. When it comes to firefighting, the training was [the] the discipline I needed. We ran every day. I didn’t drink, smoke or do the things I usually did.
Today, students still recognize the punchy melody of Coolio’s hit song. Steven Parson, a junior majoring in philosophy, politics, and law, recalls not only hearing the rapper throughout his youth, but also around the city of Los Angeles, even now calling Coolio “longtime and in- beyond generations.
“I remember sitting in my parents’ car with ‘Gangsters’ Paradise’ on the radio,” Parson said. “It’s super unfortunate to see him die so soon, knowing the kind of impact he had on not only black culture but also American culture.”
Streaming Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” has grown in popularity in recent years. Thanks to TikTok, the song started trending with nearly 600,000 videos made, reaching a billion views on YouTube last July.
Coolio’s legacy lives on in his ten children.