Tributes have been paid to the Grammy award-winning musician Coolio, who died at the age of 59 on Wednesday.
The death of the rapper, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was confirmed by Sheila Finegan, who represented him at Trinity Artists International, and said in a statement: “We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon.
“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.”
The actor Michelle Pfeiffer, who starred in the 1995 film Dangerous Minds, for which Coolio recorded the multi-award winning hit single Gangsta’s Paradise, said she was “heartbroken” to hear of his death.
Writing on an Instagram post, Pfeiffer said: “Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist @coolio. A life cut entirely too short.”
She added: “30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song. Sending love and light to his family.”
Ice Cube, a former member of the hip-hop group NWA, said Coolio’s death was “sad news”.
Writing on Twitter, the rapper and actor said: “This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace @Coolio”.
MC Hammer, best known for his hit single U Can’t Touch This, paid tribute by posting a picture of Coolio, describing him as “one of the nicest dudes I’ve known”.
American rapper Snoop Dogg also paid tribute, writing “Gangstas paradise. R I P”, while singer Bret Michaels said: “My deepest condolences go out to the family, friends, and fans on the loss of @Coolio. Awesome guy who will be missed.”
The cause of Coolio’s death has not been confirmed, although it is understood that he was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles.
Coolio is best known for his 1995 single Gangsta’s Paradise, which sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song Pastime Paradise and won a Grammy for best solo rap performance.
He was nominated for five other Grammys during a career that began in the late 1980s and took off with the 1994 release of his debut album, It Takes a Thief, on Tommy Boy Records. Its opening track, Fantastic Voyage, would reach No 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In recent years, Coolio had appeared on the reality show Big Brother and developed a cooking series which attracted a growing online following.
He made headlines in 2013 for a planned auction of his music rights, including to Gangsta’s Paradise, in order to fund his career as a chef. He also wrote a cookbook and appeared on celebrity cooking shows.