'Gangsta's Paradise' Rapper Coolio Dies At 59

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Coolio, best known for his 1995 hit "Gangsta's Paradise,” died Wednesday. He was 59.

The rapper, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivy Jr., was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a friend’s house. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

A cause of death is not confirmed but, according to TMZ, it is believed Coolio suffered a heart attack.

Born in Pennsylvania, he moved to California and worked as an airport security guard before recording his first single in 1987. He signed to a record deal in 1994 and released It Takes a Thief, which spawned the hit “Fantastic Voyage.”

“Gangsta’s Paradise,” which featured singer L.V. and sampled Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise,” was a huge hit and earned a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Coolio hadn’t released a studio album since his eighth in 2009 but continued to perform live. He was barred from entering Canada in 2013 and 2018 due to a criminal record that included possession of a firearm.

The rapper, who was briefly married in the late ‘90s, had at least 10 children with different women.

Tributes quickly started showing up on social media from hip hop stars like LL Cool J and Ice Cube. 

“One of the nicest dudes I’ve known,” tweeted MC Hammer. “Good people.”

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