LOS ANGELES — Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” died last year because of fentanyl, his manager said.
Coolio’s former longtime manager Jarez Posey told The Associated Press Thursday that Coolio’s cause of death was fentanyl and that he also had traces of heroin and methamphetamine in his system.
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office listed his death as accidental and cited cardiomyopathy as a “significant condition.” Posey also confirmed that investigators determined Coolio’s severe asthma and cigarette smoking played a role in his death.
Coolio – born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., on Aug. 1, 1963 – died at the Los Angeles home of a friend on Sept. 28, 2022. He was 59.
Coolio won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film “Dangerous Minds” that sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.”
Coolio was born in Monessen, Pennsylvania, and later moved to Compton, California.
He started rapping at 15 and knew by 18 it was what he wanted to do with his life, he said in interviews. Coolio attended community college before devoting himself full-time to the hip-hop scene.
His career album sales totaled 4.8 million, with 978 million on-demand streams of his songs, according to Luminate. He would be nominated for a total of six Grammys.
With his distinctive person, he became a cultural staple, acting occasionally, providing a voice for an animated show and providing the theme music for a Nickelodeon sitcom.
During an interview on “The Six O’Clock Show,” he talked about the process of writing the song and celebrating its success after it hit one billion streams.
“It’s one of those kinds of songs that transcends generations,” he said. “I didn’t use any trendy words… I think it made it timeless.”
Weird Al Yankovic immortalized the song with the 1996 parody, “Amish Paradise.” He tweeted a picture with his friend following his death, “RIP Coolio.”
Coolio had seven biological children and three stepchildren.
Coolio’s estate plans to release a studio album later this year that he had been working on in the days before he died.