Grammy Award-winning rapper Coolio dead at age 59

Coolio, the rapper was among the biggest names of hip-hop of the 1990s with hits including Gangster Paradise and Wonderful tripdied Wednesday at the age of 59, his manager said.

Coolio, whose legal name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died at a friend’s home in Los Angeles, longtime manager Jarez Posey told The Associated Press. The cause was not immediately clear.

Coolio won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for Gangster Paradise1995 hit from Michelle Pfeiffer’s soundtrack Dangerous thinking Stevie Wonder’s 1976 sample song Entertainment paradise. He has been nominated for 5 other Grammy Awards during his career.

Volunteer firefighter

Born in Monessen, Penn., south of Pittsburgh, Coolio moved to Compton, California, where he attended community college. He worked as a volunteer firefighter and airport security before devoting full time to hip-hop.

His career began with the 1994 release of his debut album on Tommy Boy Records, It Takes a Thief. It’s the opening song, Wonderful tripreached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. A year later, Gangster Paradise became the number 1 single.

Social media lights up with reactions to the sudden death, including those from fellow musicians.

“This is sad news,” Ice Cube said on Twitter. “I witnessed this man’s honing to be at the top of the industry first-hand. Rest In Peace, @Coolio.”

“Peaceful journey brother,” Questlove tweeted.

Close-up of two smiling people, one wearing sunglasses and a yellow shirt, the other wearing a blue shirt.
Singer Stevie Wonder is seen on stage with Coolio at the 1995 Billboard Music Awards in this file photo taken in New York. (Jeff Christensen / Reuters)

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