The Heartbreaking Death Of Rapper Coolio

Iconic rap artist Coolio, best known for his hit "Gangsta's Paradise," has died suddenly at age 59. His manager, Jarez, told TMZ that the rapper passed away while visiting a friend in L.A. on September 28. The friend found Coolio unconscious in the bathroom and called paramedics, who pronounced him dead at the scene. Details are still coming in, but Jarez reports that cardiac arrest is suspected.

Known for his signature multiple braids, Coolio was born Artis Leon Ivey, Jr., per IMDb. (The nickname came from a friend who teased him about being "Coolio Iglesias"). Small and asthmatic as a child, he loved books and spent his spare time at the library after his mother moved the family to Compton, California, according to Musician Guide. But his focus and fortunes changed in the midst of family turmoil, and Coolio got involved in gang life as a teen. A stint in jail and a bout with cocaine addiction nearly derailed him entirely, but he got back on track after moving in with his father. Music became Coolio's means of self-expression. 

After achieving a modest success recording as part of other groups, Coolio was signed to Tommy Boy Records, where his career quickly took off.

Coolio is best known for a movie theme song

Coolio's first big album, "It Takes a Thief," was his first to go platinum and to produce a hit, "Fantastic Voyage." Shortly afterward, the rapper's star soared even higher when he wrote "Gangsta's Paradise" for the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer movie "Dangerous Minds," the hit film about a Marine-turned-teacher who struggles to connect with her inner-city students (per IMDb). The song, which used a melody from Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise," was the number one song of 1995. It later got another bump of popularity, thanks to Weird Al Yankovic's parody "Amish Paradise." According to Celebrity Cheat Sheet, Coolio protested Yankovic's use of the song without his permission, but later regretted his outburst. "That was one of the dumbest things I did in my career," he admitted.

Over his career, Coolio garnered six Grammy nominations and one win, along with two MTV Music Video Awards. He also recorded six more albums, wrote a theme song for the Nickelodeon sitcom "Kenan and Kel" (per Variety), and appeared in more than 100 TV series and music videos, according to IMDb. Coolio is survived by his ex-wife, six children and one granddaughter, per Page Six.

Coolio was performing on the road just a few days before his death, as his final Instagram post reveals. Now, his comments section is filled with tributes.