Coolio Dead at 59
Coolio died on Wednesday (Sept. 28) in Los Angeles, California. He was 59 years old.
According to TMZ, who first reported the news, the rapper, born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. was found dead on the bathroom floor at his friend’s house, and paramedics initially suspect that he suffered cardiac arrest. However, an official cause of death has yet to be determined. Billboard has reached out to his reps for more information.
Coolio placed six hits on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, including the No. 1 smash “Gangsta’s Paradise,” featuring L.V, from the film Dangerous Minds. The single spent three weeks atop the list in 1995 and finished as the year-end No. 1 song on the Hot 100. It also ruled the Hot Rap Songs list for 11 consecutive weeks. The track would go on to win the Billboard Music Award for single of the year, and a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance. In 2021, “Gangsta’s Paradise” ranked among the 100 Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs.
All five of Coolio’s other Hot 100 hits all reached the top 40, including his breakthrough single, “Fantastic Voyage,” which peaked at No. 3 in 1994. He also scored a top 10 hit with “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” in 1996, which climbed to No. 5.
On the Billboard 200 albums chart, he notched a trio of entries, including two top 10s: It Takes a Thief (No. 8 in 1994) and Gangsta’s Paradise (No. 9, 1996).
Coolio also had a television career, and often made guest appearances in shows including Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Black Jesus, All That, The Nanny and Futurama. He also took part in a number of competition shows such as Fear Factor and Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.
Following the news of his death, a number of stars took to social media to mourn the loss of the hip-hop great. “Peaceful Journey Brother,” Questlove wrote, while Hot Ones host Sean Evans shared, “First CD I ever bought in my life and the most legendary Wing 10 Last Dab these eyes have ever seen.”
“We are honored to be a part of Coolio’s musical family,” Casual’s Jen Pearce wrote in a statement to Billboard. “Coolio is a legend who has inspired a generation of artists to unapologetically share their visions with the world. We are beyond grateful Coolio shared his talents with us, and at the same time, we are extremely saddened to be a bookend on his amazing musical journey.”
Those comments were echoed by Los Angeles artist Teddi Gold, who worked with the rapper. “I have an immense amount of gratitude and love for Coolio. His musicianship, big heart, sense of humor, and loyalty to his friends and family were the light he shared with the world,” comments Gold. “As somebody whose music I grew up listening to, the opportunity Coolio gave me to record and perform with him was a life changing experience I will carry with me forever. I send every ounce of love I have to his family and friends at this time.”