Pioneering rapper Coolio dies Coolio

Michelle Pfeiffer has led tributes to the rapper Coolio, best known for his chart-topping song “Gangsta’s Paradise”, after he died on Wednesday at the age of 59.

The musician, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was found unresponsive on a bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles at around 4pm.

EMTs pronounced Coolio dead on the scene and an autopsy is now underway to establish the official cause of death — though law enforcement sources shared that “no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene” and they do not suspect foul play.

Paramedics suspected he suffered a cardiac arrest, according to the star’s longtime manager, Jarez.

Hollywood actress Pfeiffer, 64, shared the music video for Gangsta’s Paradise after working with the musician on the video and the song was the cornerstone of the soundtrack for her 1995 Dangerous Minds.

The track topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and won Coolio the Grammy award for best rap solo performance in 1996.

Pfeiffer shared the music video for Coolio’s smash hit “Gangsta’s Paradise”, from their iconic 1995 film: “Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist @coolio. 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.”

In May, Pfeiffer reminisced as she shared an image taken in 1995 when the two worked on the music video for “Gangsta’s Paradise”.

Pfeiffer was the star of the film, playing former Marine LouAnne Johnson who goes to work at a high school as a teacher in a rough neighbourhood in California.

Coolio provided the smash hit song, and was awarded a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, two MTV Video Music Awards for Best Rap Video and Best Video from a Film and a Billboard Music Award for the song/album.

Rapper Ice Cube took to Twitter after hearing the sad news and paid tribute to Coolio, writing, “This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace.”

Sean Evans shared a photo of a Coolio CD, writing, “First CD I ever bought in may life and the most legendary Wing 10 Last Dab these eyes have ever seen RIP Coolio.”

Snoop Dogg referenced the world-famous track in his own tribute, writing: “Gangstas paradise. RIP.”

He also shared a picture of the two on Instagram, posing on the set of the music video for their collaborative track Gangsta Walk, released in 2006.

Questlove shared a black and white picture of the rapper on Instagram, writing: “Peaceful journey brother.”

New York rapper Flava Flav lamented the loss of Coolio, writing: “Coolio was the West Coast Flavour Flav, He loved telling everyone that.

“We was supposed to perform together this Tuesday. RIP my friend. Rest in Gangsta’s Paradise my friend.”

“Gangsta’s Paradise” was parodied by US musical comedian Weird Al Yankovic, as Amish Paradise, who also paid his respects to the rapper in a short tribute on social media.

At the time it was claimed that Coolio had not given him permission for the parody, however, Coolio stated in interviews that the pair had since made amends. Sharing a picture of the pair embracing, Weird Al Yankovic wrote: “RIP Coolio.”

Among those to respond immediately to the reports was fellow US rapper Vanilla Ice, who said he was “freaking out” after hearing the news.

“I’m freaking out I just heard my good friend Coolio passed away,” the rapper, real name Robert Matthew Van Winkle, wrote on Twitter.

In his own online tribute, US rapper LL Cool J wrote: “Rest in power my brother. @Coolio Love and Respect.”

The West Coast legend is survived by his ex-wife, Josefa Salinas, whom he married in 1996. The former couple split four years later after having four children.

He is reported to have between six and 10 children in total with multiple women.

Coolio was recently seen performing on stage during Riot Fest 2022 at Douglass Park on September 18, in Chicago, Illinois, and just four days ago he took to Instagram to share his latest performance in Texas. —

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