Coolio, the Grammy-winning rapper, producer and actor best known for his 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died. He was 59.
The rapper’s longtime manager Jarel Posey confirmed the news to Variety, saying that Coolio died around 5 p.m. PT on Wednesday afternoon. According to TMZ, Coolio was found at a friend’s house.
“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon. He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly,” Sheila Finegan, his manager at Trinity Artists International, said in a statement to Variety. “Thank you to everyone worldwide who has listened to his music and to everyone who has been reaching out regarding his passing. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
Coolio rose to prominence in the Los Angeles rap scene in the ’90s, scoring his big break when he recorded the song “Gangsta’s Paradise” for the 1995 film “Dangerous Minds,” starring Michelle Pfeiffer. It quickly became one of the most popular rap songs of all time, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and ending 1995 as the No. 1 single of that year in the United States. In 1996, “Gangsta’s Paradise” was nominated for record of the year and best rap solo performance at the Grammy Awards, with Coolio winning the latter.
The song was soon spoofed by Weird Al Yankovic, who satirized it as “Amish Paradise,” though Coolio was adamant that he did not give Weird Al permission to do so. However, Coolio later said in interviews that the two made amends.
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SOURCE: Variety, Ellise Shafer