Coolio, the ’90s rapper who lit up the music charts with hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died, his friend and manager Jarez Posey told CNN. He was 59 years old.
Posey said Coolio died Wednesday afternoon.
Details about the circumstances were not immediately available.
Contacted by CNN, Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott confirmed that firefighters and paramedics responded to a call in the 2900 block of South Chesapeake Ave. at 4 p.m. local time for reports of a medical emergency. When they arrived, they found a man unresponsive and performed “resuscitative efforts for approximately 45 minutes.”
The patient “was determined dead just before 5:00 pm,” Scott said.
“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” Coolio’s talent manager Sheila Finegan said in a statement provided to CNN.
“He touched the world with the gift of his talent and he will be sorely missed. Thank you to everyone who has listened to his music around the world and everyone who has reached out regarding his passing. Keep Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
Actor Lou Diamond Phillips also offered his condolences by recounting some memories with the artist.
“I am absolutely stunned. Coolio was a friend and one of the warmest and funniest people I have ever met. We had an amazing time together making Red Water in Cape Town and we loved clashing in the kitchen. He was one of a kind. Epic, Legendary and I will miss him,” Phillips said in a cheep.
Former NBA player Matt Bonner also recalled his time with Coolio, saying in a post on twitter the rapper was a “huge hoops fan… we invited him to a game a few years ago… the biggest crowd ever at a Spurs Overtime concert.”
Coolio grew up in Compton, California, according to a biography in his official website.
Talking with him Los Angeles Times in 1994he recalled falling into the drug scene but getting out by pursuing a career as a firefighter.
“I wasn’t looking for a career, I was looking for a way to clean up, a way to get away from drugs,” he told the publication. “It was going to kill me and I knew I had to stop. In firefighting training it was the discipline he needed. We ran every day. He didn’t drink or smoke or do the things he used to do.”
His career as a rapper began in the 1980s and he gained fame in the underground scene.
“Fantastic Voyage” was the first song that really put him on the map.
Arguably his biggest song, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” from the “Dangerous Minds” movie soundtrack, boosted his star power to gargantuan proportions. She won a Grammy in 1996 for the song.
In the broadcast era, it has continued to live. In July 2022, the song reached a milestone. billion views in Youtube.
“It’s one of those kinds of songs that transcends generations,” he said in a recent interview. “I didn’t use any buzzwords… I think it made it timeless.”
Throughout his career, Coolio sold more than 17 million records, according to his website.
Coolio also holds a special place in the hearts of some Millennials for his work on the theme song for the popular Nickelodeon television series “Kenan and Kel” and his contribution to the “Dexter’s Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment” album, which included songs by various hip-hop artists that were inspired by the Cartoon Network animated series.
In recent years, Coolio has enjoyed the perks of being a nostalgic figure, making television appearances on shows like “Celebrity Cook Off” and “Celebrity Chopped.”
He also had a show on Oxygen, “Coolio’s Rules,” which aired in 2008.