Coolio “touched the world” with his talent and “we will miss him deeply” after his death at the age of 59, his management said.
The American rapper responsible for the ’90s hit song Gangsta Paradise died Wednesday afternoon.
Sheila Finegan, Coolio’s manager at Trinity Artists International, confirmed the death to the PA news agency.
“We are deeply saddened by the disappearance of our dear friend and client Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” the agency said in a statement shared with PA.
“He touched the world with his gift of talent and we will miss him deeply.
“Thanks to everyone in the world who listened to his music and thanks to everyone who contacted him about his passing.
“Please keep your Coolio loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
According to the American media TMZ, the rapper was found unconscious on the bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles.
In addition to his successful music career, Coolio became famous for his appearance on the Channel 4 reality show Big Brother in the UK.
The rapper finished third in the sixth series of UK Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, losing to broadcaster Terry Christian, who was runner-up, and presenter and model Ulrika Jonsson, who won.
But along with Jonsson, he joined the cast of Ultimate Big Brother the following year in 2010, the last of the shows to air on Channel 4.
Jonson told PA that his death was a “shock”, but the couple shared “lots of laughs” together.
“I spent a lot of time with Coolio – he was a misogynist, he broke the wind a lot; he saw himself as a cook but my god we laughed a lot, ”he said.
The rapper was born in Pennsylvania but later moved to Compton, California, where he released his first single in 1987.
He recorded Gangsta’s Paradise for the 1995 film Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeiffer, and it became one of the most successful rap songs of all time.
The song topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and won Coolio the Grammy Award for Best Single Rap Performance in 1996.
Pfeiffer said she was “heartbroken” on learning of her death, adding that he remembered her as “nothing but pretty” when they worked together.
“Heartbroken in learning of the death of the talented artist @coolio,” he wrote on Instagram, sharing a clip from the film with the track.
“Life is too short.
“I remember he was just kind. Even after 30 years, I still get the chills when I listen to the song.
“Send love and light to his family. Rest in power, Artis Leon Ive Jr.
Gangsta’s Paradise was also parodied by American music comedian Werd Al Yankovic as Amish Paradise, although it was claimed at the time that Coolio wouldn’t allow it.
However, Coolio said in interviews that the couple has since made amends.
Yankovic paid tribute to Coolio with a small giveaway on social media.
Sharing a photo of the couple embracing, she wrote “RIP Coolio”.
Following the news of his death, officials from Chicago’s Wrigley Field played the hit song along with Coolio’s spectacular stadium-wide tour while the Cubs, hometown, hosted the Philadelphia Phillies.
Coolio was nominated for five other Grammys during a career that began in the late 1980s.
Rap veterans including Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and MC Hammer paid tribute to him after the news was shared on social media.
Former NWA star Ice Cube said he saw Coolio’s “industry shudder” in his tribute.
“This is sad news,” wrote the rapper and actor on Twitter.
“I saw this man for the first time at the top of the industry. Rest in peace @ Coolio.
MC Hammer described Coolio as “one of the best friends I’ve ever met” while sharing a photo of the couple with Tupac and Snoop.