Coolio, rapper of hits ‘Gangsta’s Paradise,’ ‘Fantastic Voyage,’ dead at 59: Reports

By Charles Trepany

Coolio, a rapper and record producer best known for hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died, according to reports. He was 59.

His longtime manager Jarez Posey confirmed the news to Rolling Stone and NBC News Wednesday. He said he believes Coolio had a heart attack, but did not provide an official cause of death.

USA TODAY has reached out to Posey for comment and further details.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1963, Coolio, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., later moved to Compton, California, where he was raised. He recorded records in the 1980s, and his career blew up in 1995 with his song “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was featured in the Michelle Pfeiffer-led film “Dangerous Minds.”

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

His 1994 single “Fantastic Voyage” also hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Coolio, a rapper and record producer best known for hits like "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage," has died, according to reports. He was 59.

Coolio, a rapper and record producer best known for hits like “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died, according to reports. He was 59.

Coolio earned six Grammy Award nominations and one win, for best rap solo performance for “Gangsta’s Paradise” in 1996.

He released a total of eight albums: 1994’s “It Takes a Thief,” 1995’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” 1997’s “My Soul,” 2001’s “,” 2002’s “El Cool Magnifico,” 2006’s “The Return of the Gangsta,” 2008’s “Steal Hear” and 2009’s “From the Bottom 2 the Top.”

He also appeared in several films and TV shows, including “Futurama,” “Charmed” and “The Nanny.”

In a 2016 interview with Uproxx, Coolio reflected on the legacy he wanted to leave.

“I wanna be remembered for just being a cool ass person. And being intelligent,” he said. “If people don’t remember my music, my cooking, or my film work, it doesn’t matter. I just want people to say … ‘He always tried to educate me. He was always talking about something that was gonna make me a better person.’ ”

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