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, Capt. Erik Scott of the Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed that firefighters and paramedics responded to a call on the 2900 block of South Chesapeake Ave. at 4 p.m. local time to report a medical emergency. Upon arrival, they found an unresponsive man and performed “resuscitation efforts for approximately 45 minutes”.
The patient “was determined dead just before 5:00 p.m.,” Scott said.
“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” said a statement provided to CNN by Coolio’s head of talent, Sheila Finegan.
“He touched the world with the gift of his talent and he will be deeply missed. Thank you to everyone around the world who listened to his music and to everyone who reached out about his passing. Please have the loved ones of Coolio in your thoughts and prayers.
Actor Lou Diamond Phillips also offered his condolences by recounting some memories with the artist.
“I am absolutely amazed. Coolio was a friend and one of the warmest, funniest people I have ever met. We had an amazing time together making Red Water in Capetown and loved competing in the kitchen. He was one of a kind. Epic, Legendary and I will miss him,” Phillips said in a Tweeter.
Former NBA player Matt Bonner also recalled his time with Coolio, saying in a Posting on Twitter the rapper was a “big hoops fan…we hosted him at a game a few years ago…biggest crowd ever at a Spurs Overtime concert”.
Coolio grew up in Compton, California, according to a biography on his official website.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 1994, he recalled falling on the drug scene but getting out of it 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 escape drugs,” he told the publication. “It was going to kill me and I knew I had to quit. In firefighting training, I needed discipline. We ran every day. I didn’t drink, smoke or do the things I usually do.
His rap career began in the 80s and he rose to prominence 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 movie soundtrack “Dangerous Minds,” grew his star power to gigantic proportions. He won a Grammy in 1996 for the song.
In the era of streaming, he lived on. In July 2022, the song reached the milestone of one billion views on YouTube.
“It’s one of those kind of songs that transcends generations,” he said in a recent interview. “I didn’t use any buzzwords…I think that made it timeless.”
During her career, Coolio has sold more than 17 million records, according to her website.
Coolio also holds a special place in the hearts of some millennials for his work on the theme song for the popular Nickelodeon TV series “Kenan and Kel” and his contribution to the album “Dexter’s Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment,” which featured songs. by various hip-hop artists 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.