LOS ANGELES – Coolio, the Compton-raised rapper who achieved international fame with the 1990s Grammy-winning single “Gangsta’s Paradise,” died Wednesday in Los Angeles at age 59.
The rapper’s manager told TMZ.com that Coolio — whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr. — collapsed in a bathroom at a friend’s house. When he didn’t come out of the bathroom, the friend went inside and found the rapper on the floor.
According to the website, paramedics were called but were unable to revive him, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Born in Pennsylvania but raised in Compton, Coolio sold more than 17 million records during his career, powered largely by the 1995 smash “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was featured in the film “Dangerous Minds.” The song earned him a Grammy for best solo rap performance and was nominated for song of the year.
According to his official website, Coolio’s music was also featured in films including “Space Jam,” “Clueless,” “The Big Payback” and “Half- Baked.” He also wrote the theme song for the Nickelodeon series “Kenan & Kel.” During his career, he collected an American Music Award, three MTV Music Video awards, two Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, two Billboard Music and a World Music award.
As an actor and portraying himself, he appeared in a variety of films and television shows over the years, including “Martin,” “The Nanny” and “Charmed.” He later appeared on reality shows including “Celebrity Big Brother” and “Ultimate Big Brother,” and his talents as a chef led him to appear on the reality TV show “Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.”
In 2009, he released his own cookbook, “Cookin’ with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price,” dubbing himself a “ghetto gourmet.” He also appeared in a web series titled “Cookin’ with Coolio.”