'Gangsta's Paradise' Coolio dead at 59
The rapper, known for the 1995 no 1 hit, leaves his mark in the rap industry for both generations at his time and a generation to come following the news of his sudden death.
Rapper Coolio's death has been confirmed by his manager on Thursday, passing away at the age of 59.
Artist Leon Ivey Jr, known by his stage name 'Coolio', passed away at a friend's house, as stated by longtime manager Jarez Posey, to AP and others including TMZ and Rolling Stone.
Famous for his 1995 single Gangsta’s Paradise, he received a Grammy for best solo rap performance, as part of the soundtrack for Dangerous Minds starring Michelle Pfeiffer alongside five Grammy nominations for his career that took off in 1994 with his debut album, It Takes a Thief. Its opening song, Fantastic Voyage, reached No 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Earlier this year, Gangsta's Paradise hit one billion views on YouTube, with the artist stating in a video reported by Billboard: “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.”
Coolio moved to Compton, California, from Pennsylvania where he went to community college and worked as a volunteer firefighter and in airport security before devoting all of his time to hip-hop.
The West Coast artist would then take on acting and winning awards as a musician whose work appeared in dozens of films and popular television shows. In recent years, he appeared on the reality show Big Brother and developed a cooking series called 'Cookin' with Coolio' that boomed online. He later made headlines in 2013 for an auction of his music rights, including to Gangsta’s Paradise, to fund his career in cuisine.