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How Did Coolio Die? Gangsta’s Paradise Rapper Death Cause Explained

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Paul Bergen/Redferns

Grammy-winning rapper and actor Coolio has died at the age of 59. The Gangsta’s Paradise artist’s manager Jarez Posey confirmed to TMZ Coolio went to use the bathroom at a friend’s house in Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon (September 28) and did not come out for an extended period of time, eventually being found on the floor unresponsive. Paramedics arrived on the scene around 4 p.m., and pronounced him dead.

“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon. He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly,” Sheila Finegan, his manager at Trinity Artists International, said in a statement to Variety. “Thank you to everyone worldwide who has listened to his music and to everyone who has been reaching out regarding his passing. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

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What Was Coolio’s Cause Of Death: How Did He Die?

Coolio died from fentanyl overdose, according to a report published on TMZ. A spokesperson for the family Jarel (Jarez) Posey tells the news outlet that Coolio had traces of heroin and methamphetamines in his system. Jarez also said investigators determined Coolio’s severe asthma and decades-long use of cigarettes were major factors in his death and his body’s inability to fight back.

Early Life

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AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – JANUARY 17: Rapper Coolio performs live on stage at Paradiso in Amsterdam, Netherlands on 17th January 1996. (photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns)

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. on Aug. 1, 1963 in Pennsylvania, Coolio grew up in Los Angeles where he worked as a volunteer firefighter and in airport security. He achieved major success in the mid 90s, when his iconic song “Gangsta’s Paradise” reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for three consecutive weeks. The 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film “Dangerous Minds” that sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise” won him a GRAMMY for Best Solo Rap performance. It has since been certified double-platinum in the U.S., and also sold millions of additional units worldwide.

The MC released a total of eight studio albums beginning with 1994’s “It Takes a Thief,” which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart thanks to the success of its lead single “Fantastic Voyage.”

His other albums include: 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 dozens of films and TV shows throughout his career such as “Dangerous Minds” TV spinoff (1996), “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” (1996), “Batman & Robin” (1997), “The Nanny” (1998), “Tyrone” (1999), “Midnight Mass” (1999), “Charmed” (2002), “Star-ving” (2009), “Futurama” (2001, 2010) and “Gravity Falls” (2012).


Social media was flooded with tributes following news of his passing.

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“Since 1988 we connected.
Sleep Peacefully Coolio.
A Legend and Icon,” said DJ Premier.

“Oh man!!! RIP Coolio! Loved your music….too soon,” wrote award-winning actress Viola Davis.

Ice Cube added: “This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace @Coolio.”

“RIP Coolio. At least 2 of his songs felt like the biggest songs in [Ghana] for the youth dem at one point. In his own words “I’ll see when you get there,” said Ghanaian rapper M.anifest.

Rest in peace to Coolio.

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