In Pictures: Gangsta’s Paradise rapper Coolio dead at age 59

Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including Gangsta’s Paradise, died on Wednesday at the age of 59 (Alamy/PA)
Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including Gangsta’s Paradise, died on Wednesday at the age of 59 (Alamy/PA)

Coolio, who was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including Gangsta’s Paradise, died on Wednesday at the age of 59.

The US rapper, whose legal name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr, died at the Los Angeles home of a friend.

Coolio’s manager at Trinity Artists International, Sheila Finegan, confirmed the death to the PA news agency.

Coolio won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for Gangsta’s Paradise, the 1995 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds.

He was nominated for five other Grammys during a career that began in the late-1980s.

The rapper also became well-known in the UK for his appearances on reality television.

He came third in the sixth series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2009 and went on to join the cast of Ultimate Big Brother the following year, the last series of the show to air on Channel 4.

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 Coolio the Grammy award for best rap solo performance in 1996.