Coolio is dead at 59. The rapper, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died on Wednesday, September 28, at a friend’s house in Los Angeles, California.
“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” a rep for Coolio told Us Weekly on Wednesday. “He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly. 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.”
The Pennsylvania native, who was best known for the hit “Gangsta’s Paradise” from the 1995 film Dangerous Minds, was confirmed dead by his manager Jarez Posey on Wednesday. “As far as what I know now is that he was at a friend’s house and was in his bathroom,” Posey confirmed to Rolling Stone, adding that Coolio died of a suspected heart attack. No official cause of death has been confirmed.
Per TMZ, who was first to report the news, Coolio was visiting a friend when he went to the bathroom. After his friend grew concerned when the “C U When U Get There” artist was absent for an extended period of time, they found him laying on the floor.
The ambulance was called and EMTs pronounced the rapper dead on the scene.
Coolio was married to Josefa Salinas from 1996 to 2000. They shared four kids, daughters Artisha, Brandi, Jackie and son Artis, who costarred with him on the 2008 reality series Coolio’s Rules.
Beyond his musical success — which included eight solo studio albums between 1994 and 2009 — Coolio landed roles in major blockbuster films throughout his career. He appeared in 1997’s Batman & Robin opposite George Clooney as the Dark Knight, Get Over It with Kirsten Dunst in 2001 and was featured in Ben Affleck’s Daredevil film in 2003. He also made his way to television over the years and was featured in various episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Nanny, Charmed, and Teachers.
He is also the creator and artist of the theme song for Nickelodeon’s Kenan and Kel, which starred Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell.
Following his tragic passing, celebrities took to social media to honor the music icon.
Michelle Pheiffer, who starred in Dangerous Minds — and coinciding music video for Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” — penned a touching tribute to the late rapper via Instagram.
“Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist @coolio,” the One Fine Day star wrote alongside a clip from their music video. “A life cut entirely too short. As some of you may know I was lucky enough to work with him on Dangerous Minds in 1995. He won a Grammy for his brilliant song on the soundtrack – which I think was the reason our film saw so much success. I remember him being nothing but gracious. 30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song. Sending love and light to his family. Rest in Power, Artis Leon Ivey Jr. ❤️.”
“This is sad news,” Ice Cube wrote via Twitter at the time. “I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace @Coolio.”
Fellow rapper MC Hammer also paid his condolences, saying, “One of the nicest dudes I’ve known. Good people. R.I.P. Coolio.” Actor Martin Lawerence, for his part, gave his “deepest condolences” to Coolio’s family.
Scroll down to see more celebrities pay tribute to Coolio: