Coolio death: Gangsta’s Paradise rapper dead at 59 - cause of death, net worth & Celebrity Big Brother

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American rapper, Coolio, has died at the age of 59, his longtime manager has announced.

Coolio, who shot to fame in the90s with classic rap anthem Gangsta’s Paradise, has died at the age of 59.

Coolio, born Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was reported to have been found unresponsive on his bathroom floor by his manager Jarez Posey, the BBC has reported.

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The exact cause of death is unknown, however Mr Posey told TMZ, which first reported the news, that paramedics believed he may have suffered a cardiac arrest.

The rapper is survived by his six children and his ex-wife, Josefa Salinas, whom he was married to between 1996 and 2000.

What was Coolio’s biggest hit?

Coolio swept the charts across the world with the release of collaboration with L.V, entitled Gangsta’s Paradise.

The song was a stark warning on the idolism many young people in the 90s had towards the gangster lifestyle, especially during the East Coast v West Coast hip hop rivalry.

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The song, used to promote the Michelle Pfeiffer movie Dangerous Minds, earned Coolio the Best Rap Solo Performance of the Year at the 1996 Grammy Awards.

The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Antoine Fuqua and featured Michelle Pfeiffer reprising her earlier role in Dangerous Minds.

Initially, Coolio was concerned with the video’s treatment stating, "I wanted some low-riders and some (stuff) in it; I was trying to take it ‘hood’." Despite this, he trusted Fuqua and was ultimately pleased with the final result.

For the music video, Coolio won the Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996, while the music video hit one billion Youtube views in July 2022.

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What else was Coolio involved in?

Reality TV fans may also recall that Coolio was a housemate in 2009’s Celebrity Big Brother, where he finished in third place behind Ulrika Jonsson and Terry Christian. He reappeared in the Big Brother world in Ultimate Big Brother back in 2010.

British television viewers may also remember his appearance alongside comedian Jenny Eclair and Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden on the UK game show Tipping Point: Lucky Stars in 2013.

For music fans though, it is his musical output they remember fondly; alongside Gangta’s Paradise, Coolio released the singles Fantastic Voyage in 1995 and 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New), which led to a repeat Grammy nomination in 1997.

Tributes to Coolio led by Michelle Pfeiffer

“30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song” Dangerous Minds actress Michelle Pfeiffer wrote on her Instagram account“30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song” Dangerous Minds actress Michelle Pfeiffer wrote on her Instagram account
“30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song” Dangerous Minds actress Michelle Pfeiffer wrote on her Instagram account | Getty Images

In an Instagram reel on her official account, Dangerous Minds actress Michelle Pfeiffer paid tribute to the singer, writing “Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist Coolio. A life cut entirely too short.”

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“As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to work with him on Dangerous Minds in 1995. He won a Grammy for his brilliant song on the soundtrack - which I think was the reason our film saw so much success. I remember him being nothing but gracious.

“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.”

Weird Al Yankovic, who parodied Gangsta’s Paradise with the single Amish Paradise, also took to Twitter to express his condolences.

NWA rapper turned actor Ice Cube tweeted “This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace Coolio” while Public Enemy rapper Flavour Flav tweeted: “Coolio was the West Coast Flavor Flav. He loved telling everyone that. We was supposed to perform together this Tuesday. #RIP my friend,”

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Kenan Thompson, for whom Coolio provided the intro music for Nickelodeon series Kenan and Kel, posted an Instagram story, saying, “Wait, now Coolio!!” followed by two more slides featuring photos of the musician, writing, “Damn, homie!!! Rest in Power!!!!”

Hot One’s presenter Sean Evans also paid tribute to the rapper on Twitter, “First CD I ever bought in my life and the most legendary Wing 10 Last Dab these eyes have ever seen. RIP Coolio.”

What was Coolio’s net worth?

The US rapper was worth $1.5m according to

Coolio sold the rights to more than 100 of his songs, including ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ back in 2013.

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