Coolio, best known for his chart-topping song Gangsta’s Paradise, died on Wednesday at the age of 59, with tributes flooding in for the American rapper.
The beloved musician, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was found unresponsive on a bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles at around 4pm.
But in the weeks leading up until his shocking death, the musician was busy doing what he loved as he took to the stage to amaze crowds at a string of sold-out performances and was working on new music.
Sad news: Rapper Coolio (pictured on September 18) died on Wednesday at the age of 59, but in the weeks leading up until his shocking death, the beloved musician was busy doing what he loved as he took to the stage at a string of sold-out shows
Coolio had made an array of appearances at festivals packed out with partygoers across the summer and was in the middle of his sell-out tour with 90s stars Vanilla Ice and Young MC at the time of his tragic passing.
In the three weeks leading up to his death, he performed at seven packed-out shows in the three weeks and had even more dates in the pipeline, as he was due to continue his I Love The 90s Tour into November.
Just four days before his death, Coolio posted his last ever Instagram post, which documented his final performance on Saturday, where he belted out the 1999 hit Gangsta’s Paradise while eager fans cheered along.
At his final show, Coolio was seen dancing across the stage and standing on railings as he once again did not fail to impress fans with his high energy show at The Roundup Music Venue in Boerne, Texas.
Shows: Coolio (pictured on September 18) had made an array of appearances at festivals packed with partygoers across the summer and was in the middle of his sell-out tour with 90s stars Vanilla Ice and Young MC at the time of his tragic passing
Hours after the show, he shared his last ever Instagram post, which featured a montage of highlights from his spectacular performance, where he showed off his rapping talents and was joined by a live band as crowds could be seen dancing along.
Coolio, who had a net worth of $1.5million at the time of his death, had also spent the previous weeks travelling around America in the midst of his sell-out tour, which saw him take to the stage at seven shows in three weeks.
Across the summer, he had also toured across Europe and the US and even made an appearance at ERA Music Festival in Florida as part of his much-anticipated tour – which was due to continue until November.
In the final weeks of his life, Coolio took to stage at 24th Street Stage in Virginia Beach on September 4, followed by shows at Denny Sanford Premier Center in South Dakota and The Caverns in Tennessee.
He then travelled around Texas where he impressed fans with a string of shows, including at The Backyard Bar Stage Grill on September 16 and The Barn At Frio Grill on September 23.
Touring: In the three weeks leading up to his death, he performed at seven packed-out shows in the three weeks and had even more dates in the pipeline, as he was due to continue his I Love The 90s Tour into November
Coolio also visited the Eventplex At The Frederick Fairgrounds on September 22, after he had stopped off in Chicago, Illinois, on September 18 to perform for eager crowds at Riot Fest in Douglass Park.
Photographs from the festival showed the star putting on an energetic performance as he took to the stage and held the microphone out to fans for them to sing along to his top hits.
He looked stylish in patterned green shorts and a matching jacket, which he paired with a green polo shirt as he belted out his popular tracks at the outdoor event.
His poignant final performance then came at The Roundup Music Venue in Texas on September 24, where he was supported by 90s star Vanilla Ice.
Coolio was set to continue his I Love The 90s Tour, with upcoming performances set to take place at Camelback Ranch in Arizona – with Vanilla Ice, Rob Base, Tone Loc and Young M.C – on September 30, and another show on November 18 at the PPL Center in Pennsylvania.
Festival: Coolio also stopped off in Chicago, Illinois, on September 18 to perform for eager crowds at Riot Fest in Douglass Park
He continued doing what he loved in his final weeks, as he had also revealed he had new music in the pipeline, having spoken about a collaboration he was working on with Christy Dignam of the Irish rock band Aslan.
Coolio revealed back in July that they were in the early days of working on a new track and hadn’t even started writing any lyrics yet as he teased his project.
‘The track is being built as we speak, somewhere within the next four to six weeks we should have something tangible we could work with,’ he told The Irish Examiner.
‘It’s probably going to be a banger, I would imagine. I don’t know if it’s going to be dark and deep or if we’re going to go clubby and happy — that remains to be seen, I’m more inclined with being dark and deep and still being a banger.’
As well as his new music, his hit track Gangsta’s Paradise also proved as popular as ever in the months leading up to his death, when it hit an incredible one billion views on YouTube – 27 years after its initial release and five years after being uploaded to the streaming site.
According to Billboard, Coolio marked the impressive milestone in a video shared to social media in July, thanking his fans for always ‘being there’ for him and the ‘years of love’.
Marking the occasion, he said: ‘Yo, what’s up y’all? We just hit one billion. ‘I want to thank everybody for all the years of love and being there for me.
‘I hope I got you through some good times and got you through some bad times, cuz he d–n sure got me through some… it’s on and it’s on and it’s on.’
The track has also since reached 1billion streams on Spotify, with fans flocking to listen to the iconic 90s tune after the sad news of Coolio’s death.
Coolio’s death at the age of 59 was announced on Wednesday and tributes have poured in for the beloved rapper since his shocking passing.
The singer was found unresponsive on a bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles at around 4pm, and EMTs pronounced Coolio dead on the scene.
An autopsy is underway to establish the official cause of death – though law enforcement sources shared that ‘no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene’ and they do not suspect foul play.
Final show: Just four days before his death, Coolio posted his last ever Instagram post, which documented his final performance on Saturday, where he belted out the 1999 hit Gangsta’s Paradise while eager fans cheered along
Paramedics suspected he suffered a cardiac arrest, according to the star’s longtime manager, Jarez.
Hollywood actress Michelle Pfeiffer, 64, led the tributes as she shared the music video for Gangsta’s Paradise after working with the musician on it, and the song was the cornerstone of the soundtrack for her 1995 Dangerous Minds.
The track topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and won Coolio the Grammy award for best rap solo performance in 1996.
Pfeiffer shared the music video for Coolio’s smash hit Gangsta’s Paradise, from their iconic 1995 film: ‘Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist @coolio. A life cut entirely too short.’
‘As some of you may know I was lucky enough to work with him on Dangerous Minds in 1995. He won a Grammy for his brilliant song on the soundtrack – which I think was the reason our film saw so much success.’
‘I remember him being nothing but gracious. 30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song. Sending love and light to his family. Rest in Power, Artis Leon Ivey Jr.’
Impressive performance: He looked stylish in patterned green shorts and a matching jacket, which he paired with a green polo shirt as he belted out his popular tracks at the outdoor event
In May, Pfeiffer reminisced as she shared an image taken in 1995 when the two worked on the music video for Gangsta’s Paradise.
Pfeiffer was the star of the film, playing former Marine LouAnne Johnson who goes to work at a high school as a teacher in a rough neighborhood in California.
Coolio provided the smash hit song, and was awarded a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, two MTV Video Music Awards for Best Rap Video and Best Video from a Film and a Billboard Music Award for the song/album.
Rapper Ice Cube took to Twitter after hearing the sad news and paid tribute to Coolio, writing, ‘This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace.’
Devastating: The musician, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was found unresponsive on a bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles at around 4pm
Sean Evans shared a photo of a Coolio CD, writing, ‘First CD I ever bought in may life and the most legendary Wing 10 Last Dab these eyes have ever seen RIP Coolio.’
Snoop Dogg referenced the world-famous track in his own tribute, writing: ‘Gangstas paradise. R I P.’
He also shared a picture of the two on Instagram, posing on the set of the music video for their collaborative track Gangsta Walk, released in 2006.
Questlove shared a black and white picture of the rapper on Instagram, writing: ‘Peaceful journey brother.’
New York rapper Flava Flav lamented the loss of Coolio, writing: ‘Coolio was the West Coast Flavor Flav, He loved telling everyone that.
‘We was supposed to perform together this Tuesday. RIP my friend. Rest in Gangsta’s Paradise my friend.’
Dream collaboration: Hollywood actress Michelle Pfeiffer, 64, led the tributes shared the music video for Gangsta’s Paradise after working with the musician on it
Tributes: There was also an outpouring of grief from the hip hop community who had worked closely with the rapper
Gangsta’s Paradise was parodied by US musical comedian Weird Al Yankovic, as Amish Paradise, who also paid his respects to the rapper in a short tribute on social media.
At the time it was claimed that Coolio had not given him permission for the parody, however, Coolio stated in interviews that the pair had since made amends.
Sharing a picture of the pair embracing, Weird Al Yankovic wrote: ‘RIP Coolio.’
Among those to respond immediately to the reports was fellow US rapper Vanilla Ice, who said he was ‘freaking out’ after hearing the news.
‘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.’
Possible cause: The paramedics suspect he suffered a cardiac arrest, though an official cause of death has not been determined according to the star’s longtime manager, Jarez (Pictured in 1996)
The West Coast legend is survived by his ex-wife, Josefa Salinas, whom he married in 1996. The former couple split four years later after having four children.
He is reported to have between six and 10 children in total with multiple women. His known children include Grtis Ivey, Brandi Ivey, Milan Ivey, Darius Ivey, Zhaneand Ivey, Jackie Ivey, Kate Ivey, Shayne Ivey, Artisha Ivey, and Artis Ivey III.
After being born in the steel-making city of Monessen, south-western Pennsylvania, he moved to Compton, Los Angeles where he began developing his skills by entering rap contests.
He recorded the singles Watcha Gonna Do and You’re Gonna Miss Me in the late 1980s, before joining group WC and the Maad Circle in 1991.
He had his breakout moment as a solo artist three years later with the single Fantastic Voyage, from his individual debut album It Takes a Thief, which was released by Tommy Boy Records.
The outlandish singer released Gangster’s Paradise in 1995 and the song topped the charts in the US, UK, France, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
The single itself sold over six million copies worldwide and came from his four time Platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated 17-track album of the same name.
The singer used religious undertones in the lyrics and said he felt a calling to make the tune, announcing: ‘Gangsta’s Paradise wanted to be born; it wanted to come to life, and it chose me as the vessel.’
He revealed some of the lines were from Stevie Wonder, who would not allow any cuss words: ‘I had a few vulgarities… and he wasn’t with that. So I changed it. Once he heard it, he thought it was incredible.’
The music video for the song was directed by Antoine Fuqua, and featured Pfeiffer reprising her role.
An album with the same title was released later in 1995 and was soon certified twice platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, with the release also containing hit singles 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New) and Too Hot.
Variety: A host of actors and performers also paid tribute to the legendary singer
Unfortunately, Coolio was unable to duplicate his level of musical success again and gained only a small amount of recognition with subsequent song ‘I’ll C U When U Get There.’
Coolio also collaborated on the soundtrack to the Michael Jordan-starring family film Space Jam, teaming up with Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Cyprus Hill’s B-Real and Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan for the song Hit ’em High.
He achieved a special place in many television viewers’ hearts with the memorable theme song – titled Aw Here It Goes – to the children’s show Kenan and Kel, along with turns on The Nanny and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
Coolio recorded eight studio albums finishing with 2009’s From the Bottom 2 the Top, and kept working in TV including appearances as himself in Adult Swim’s Black Jesus in 2014 and last year in the presidential puppet-themed show Let’s Be Real.
He had been due to perform in Europe in the coming weeks, with performances in Germany booked for October.
He was not without legal incidents, being convicted of being an accessory to robbery and causing bodily injury in Germany in 1998.
He was also convicted for having a loaded firearm inside a bookbag at Los Angeles International Airport in 2016 then denied entry to Singapore at Changi International Airport the next year for a non-disclosed reason.
Feeling good: He was also seen looking healthy earlier in April at the airport in Sydney where he generously stopped to take photos with fans, ahead of his concert at Luna Park
He was sentenced to 45 days community service and banned from owning or possessing guns during a three-year probation period.
Speaking outside the courtroom, Coolio said: ‘A mistake was made. It was a misunderstanding. I don’t condone the use of firearms, illegal or legal. Thanks to the court and the attorneys for handling this for me. I was very worried. I don’t do crime. I’m not into anything illegal.’
A talented actor, Coolio played in dozens of films and TV shows throughout his career, and had three movies in the works according to his IMDb page: Bobcat Moretti, It Wants Blood 2, and a TV movie Vegas High.
His passion for food saw him become a chef who appeared in web-based cooking instructional shows Coolio’s Rules and Cookin’ with Coolio, as well as a celebrity contestant on the first season of Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.
Coolio has toured smaller venues throughout the United States over the past few years, playing a number of hits from his back catalogue.
Family: Coolio is survived by his six children and ex-wife, Josefa Salinas; Pictured with Salinas and their kids at the World Premiere of ‘Space Jam’ on November 10, 1996, in Westwood, California
Ex-wife: The two were married in 1996. The former couple split four years later; Pictured with Salinas in 1998 in Los Angeles
As well as for his successful music career, he became well known in the UK for his appearances on Channel 4 reality show Big Brother.
The rapper came third in the sixth series of UK Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, losing out to broadcaster Terry Christian, who was the runner-up, and presenter and model Ulrika Jonsson, who won.
But along with Jonsson he went on to join the cast of Ultimate Big Brother the following year in 2010, the last series of the show to air on Channel 4.
Jonsson told PA that his death was a ‘shock’ but the pair had shared ‘so many laughs’ together.
‘I spent a fair bit of time with Coolio’, she said. ‘He was a misogynist, broke wind a lot; he fancied himself as a cook but my God, we had so many laughs.’
Actress Tina Malone also appeared on the show and paid tribute by tweeting: ‘RIP COOLIO! YOU DROVE ME NUTS,YOU MADE ME LAUGH! GLAD WE GOT TO MAKE UP! Godbless xx’
Hit song: Coolio is perhaps best known for his ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ hit song on the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film ‘Dangerous Minds’; Still from Dangerous Minds
Looking back: In May, Pfeiffer shared an image taken in 1995 when the two worked on the music video for Gangsta’s Paradise
Coolio sensationally walked out of the Ultimate Big Brother house after having a huge bust-up with fellow contestant Nadia Almada.
The pair spent the night bickering, with the simmering tension coming to a head when the rapper was caught red-handed in the act of hiding the transgender star’s clothes.
They were each ordered to the Diary Room where, after calming down, Coolio decided it was time to leave, a spokeswoman for the show explained.
His exit was announced on the Channel 4 website with statement: ‘Following an eventful morning in the House, at 13:20 today Coolio was called to the Diary Room to talk to Big Brother.
‘Shortly after, in agreement with Big Brother, it was mutually decided that Coolio should leave the House. Big Brother broke the news to the surprised housemates at 14:37. One thing is for sure, Coolio is a character whose absence will be felt.’
Investigation: Law enforcement sources shared that ‘no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene of Coolio’s death’ and that ‘an autopsy and toxicology test will be used to determine an official cause of death’ (pictured in 2016)