Coolio Dies: Rapper and Actor Known for ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Was 59

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 7, 2015: Coolio at Spike TV's 2015 Guys Choice Awards at Sony Studios, Culver City. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Coolio, the chart-topping rapper known for the Grammy-winning single “Gangsta’s Paradise,” died suddenly Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 59.

TMZ was among the first outlets to report on the rapper’s death. Coolio’s manager Jarez Posey told the outlet the hip-hop star went to the restroom while visiting a friend’s house and collapsed. Paramedics responded to the home, but Coolio could not be revived and was pronounced deceased at the scene. He is believed to have died from cardiac arrest.

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The rapper was born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in Monessen, Pennsylvania on Aug. 1, 1963. He grew up in Compton, California, and attended Compton Community College. After working a variety of jobs, he launched a rap career in the 1980s.

He recorded his first single “Whatcha Gonna Do?” in 1987.

In 1995, Coolio reached superstar status with the release of “Gangsta’s Paradise” featuring R&B singer L.V. for the film Dangerous Minds starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

The single became one of the most successful rap songs of all time, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was the No. 1 single in the U. S. for three weeks. Coolio won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which included a sample of Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.”

The music video for “Gangsta’s Paradise” has over a billion views on YouTube.

According to his official website, Coolio’s music was also featured in the films Space Jam, Clueless, The Big Payback, Panther, and Half-Baked. He wrote the theme song for the Nickelodeon series Kenan & Kel.

In addition to his music career, he had acting roles on Martin, The Nanny and Charmed. He made a string of appearances on reality TV as well, as a housemate on Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, and on Ultimate Big Brother in 2010, and he was featured on the ABC reality program Wife Swap.