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‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ Rapper Coolio Dies At 59

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Coolio, the US rapper best known for the chart-topping 1995 song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died, his manager said Wednesday. He was 59 years old.

The Grammy-winning musician passed away in Los Angeles. No cause of death was immediately provided.

Coolio’s friend and long-standing manager Jarez Posey confirmed the news to AFP without providing additional details.

Posey told celebrity news website TMZ that Coolio was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a friend’s house on Wednesday afternoon.

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr on August 1, 1963, in Pennsylvania, the artist spent most of his life in Compton, California, attending community college and working jobs including airport security before finding success in rap.

Coolio began his music career in California in the late 1980s, digging roots in the Los Angeles scene by 1994 when he signed to Tommy Boy Records.

His single “Fantastic Voyage” off his debut studio album “It Takes a Thief” charted as high as three on the Billboard Hot 100.

But it was “Gangsta’s Paradise” the following year that would make Coolio a household name.

The rapper soared to global fame in 1995 when he released the song for the soundtrack of the film “Dangerous Minds” which starred Michelle Pfeiffer.

It was the year’s top single and scored Coolio a Grammy for best rap solo performance for the track at the subsequent awards gala.

With a hook lifted from Stevie Wonder’s 1976 track “Pastime Paradise” off of that artist’s seminal “Songs In The Key of Life,” the hit sold millions of copies worldwide, topping pop charts in 16 countries.

“It’s about life, because you’re living in the gangster’s paradise also,” Coolio said about his song, speaking in 1995 on the “Howard Stern Show.”

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