Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including Gangsta’s Paradise and Fantastic Voyage, died Wednesday at age 59, his manager said.
Coolio, whose legal name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died at the Los Angeles home of a friend, longtime manager Jarez Posey told The Associated Press. The cause was not immediately clear.
Coolio won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for Gangsta’s Paradise, the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds that sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song Pastime Paradise.
He was nominated for five other Grammys during his career.
Born in Monessen, Penn., south of Pittsburgh, Coolio moved to Compton, Calif., where he went to community college. He worked as a volunteer firefighter and in airport security before devoting himself full-time to the hip-hop scene.
His career took off with the 1994 release of his debut album on Tommy Boy Records, It Takes a Thief. It’s opening track, Fantastic Voyage, reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.