Coolio, the Grammy-winning rapper, record producer and actor best known for his 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has died at the age of 59.
His longtime manager, Jarez Posey, confirmed to ABC News that Coolio died at a friend’s house on Wednesday evening. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
Coolio, born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., rose to prominence as a member of the hip hop group WC and the Maad Circle alongside WC and his brother, Crazy Toones, and achieved mainstream success with his albums It Takes a Thief, released in 1994, and Gangsta’s Paradise and My Soul, released in 1995.
Coolio’s single, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” recorded for the 1995 film Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, became one of the most popular rap songs of all time, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and ending 1995 as the #1 single in the United States that year.
The song was later parodied by Weird Al Yankovic as “Amish Paradise.” Though Coolio said he didn’t give Weird Al permission to do so, he later said that the two had made amends.
Coolio had several other hits including 1994’s “Fantastic Voyage,” which peaked at #3 on Billboard‘s Hot 100, as well as “1,2,3,4 (Sumpin’ New)” and “It’s All the Way Live (Now).” He also provided the opening track “Aw, Here It Goes!” for the 1996 Nickelodeon television series Kenan & Kel.
Beyond music, Coolio voiced the character Kwanzaa-bot on Futurama, and appeared in such movies as Dear God, Batman & Robin, Submerged and Stealing Candy.
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