Rapper Coolio dead at 59: reports

U.S.

Rapper Coolio of “Coolio’s Rules” performs during day 13 of the NBC Universal 2008 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour held at the Beverly Hilton hotel on July 20, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

(KTLA) – Los Angeles rapper Coolio has died, according to reports. He was 59 years old.

The rapper had multiple smash hits in the mid-’90s, including “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage.” He died late Wednesday afternoon, according to TMZ. Coolio’s manager, Jarez Posey, also confirmed the artist’s death to Rolling Stone and the Associated Press.

Coolio, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., was born on Aug. 1, 1963, and grew up in Compton. His early career success came at a time when Southern California rappers dominated the Billboard charts.

His first two albums, “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “It Takes a Thief,” climbed up the charts and were massive commercial and critical successes.

He won a Grammy for his single “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was used as the theme song to the 1995 film “Dangerous Minds.”

Social media lit up with reactions to the unexpected death, especially from fellow musicians.

“This is sad news,” Ice Cube said on Twitter. “I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace, @Coolio.”

“Weird Al” Yankovic tweeted “RIP Coolio” along with a picture of the two men hugging.

Coolio’s mainstream success launched a prominent acting career, including more than 100 roles, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Younger audiences might better know him from his theme song and intro to the hit Nickelodeon comedy series “Kenan and Kel.”

He also starred in a reality show about parenting called “Coolio’s Rules” and provided a voice for an episode of the animated show “Gravity Falls.”

Ultimately, his career will be remembered for his iconic rap tunes that perfectly encapsulated West Coast hip-hop from the 1990s.

His cause of death is unclear at this time, but TMZ reported that medics on the scene identified cardiac arrest as the likely cause. His Instagram page shows him performing live only days ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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