Coolio: Gangsta’s Paradise rapper cause of death revealed, tributes and what other songs did he record?

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Coolio's hits like Gangsta's Paradise helped define hip-hop in the 1990s

The cause of death of US rapper, Coolio, best known for his 1995 hit Gangsta’s Paradise, has been revealed. The 59-year-old died last September due to the effects of fentanyl and other drugs, his manager has said. Jarez Posey said the Grammy-winning artist's family had been notified about the findings by the Los Angeles County coroner.

Posey told TMZ that the rapper also had traces of heroin and methamphetamines in his system. He added that "investigators determined Coolio's severe asthma and decades-long use of cigarettes also played a factor in his death and his body's inability to fight back".

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The music world reacted with shock to the news of the death of the characterful artist, real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr, which was announced by his manager Jarez Posey.

What happened? 

Police were called to a house in Los Angeles around 4 pm on 28 September, 2022, where Coolio was found unresponsive and was pronounced dead. His manager said Coolio was visiting a friend’s house in Los Angeles when he apparently suffered a heart attack.

Coolio, the rap artist synonymous with 90s hit Gangsta’s Paradise, has died at the age of 59Coolio, the rap artist synonymous with 90s hit Gangsta’s Paradise, has died at the age of 59
Coolio, the rap artist synonymous with 90s hit Gangsta’s Paradise, has died at the age of 59 | Getty Images

At the time, police told TMZ that no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene of Coolio’s death. They have opened a death investigation but there did not appear to be any signs of foul play, the site added.

What is Coolio’s legacy? 

Coolio emerged onto the LA rap scene in the 1980s - however, it was his iconic 1995 hit, Gangsta’s Paradise, that cemented his place in history. He won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for the track, which was used as part of the score for the film Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

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The song reached number one on the US Billboard charts and stayed there for three weeks. The track is still popular today, with over a billion streams on Spotify, according to his official website.

Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images

Coolio’s career spanned four decades, in which he recorded eight studio albums, and won an American Music Award and three MTV Video Music Awards. His other hits included Fantastic Voyage - which reached No 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 - Rollin’ With My Homies, 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New), and Too Hot.

He was nominated for five other Grammys during his career. Coolio was also known for providing the opening track “Aw, Here It Goes!” for the 1996 Nickelodeon show Kenan & Kel. The rapper also dabbled in acting, making his debut in the TV series The Parent ‘Hood (1995). He also played a voice role in Futurama as Kwanzaa-bot and made a cameo in Batman & Robin (1997).

How have people paid tribute to Coolio? 

Coolio was in the middle of a tour with other 90s stars including Vanilla Ice and Young MC, and they performed in Texas just a few days ago. “I’m freaking out I just heard my good friend Coolio passed away,” Vanilla Ice wrote on Twitter.

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Ice Cube wrote on Twitter: “This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace @Coolio

MC Hammer simply said: “One of the nicest dudes I’ve known. Good people. R.I.P. Coolio”

Weird Al Yankovic posted a photograph of him hugging Coolio, with the caption: “RIP Coolio.”

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