Rapper Coolio, responsible for 1990s hit song Gangsta’s Paradise, has reportedly died aged 59.
The US rapper, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr, died on Wednesday, his manager confirmed to multiple US outlets. He was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles, according to TMZ.
The star had made many visits to Dublin in recent years, filming a rap video with Versatile in Ringsend. The Fantastic Voyage rapper even started to take an interest in Dublin GAA, urging Diarmuid Connolly to return to the senior set up when he spoke to Dublin Live in June 2019.
He had also reportedly been working on a collaboration with Aslan in recent months. The star also enjoyed a night out in Conor McGregor's Crumlin pub, The Black Forge, earlier this year with Versatile duo Casey Walsh and Alex Sheehan.
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, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, and it went on to become one of the most successful rap songs of all time.
The track topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and won him the Grammy award for best rap solo performance in 1996. After news of his death broke, officials at Wrigley Field in Chicago played the hit song as well as Fantastic Voyage throughout the stadium, as the hometown Cubs hosted the Philadelphia Phillies
Coolio was nominated for five other Grammys during a career which began in the late-1980s. Among those to respond immediately to the reports was fellow US rapper Vanilla Ice, who said he was “freaking out” after hearing the news.
He wrote on Twitter: “I’m freaking out I just heard my good friend Coolio passed away,” the rapper, real name Robert Matthew Van Winkle, wrote on Twitter.
In his own online tribute, US rapper LL Cool J wrote: “Rest in power my brother. @Coolio Love and Respect”.
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