"Gangsta's Paradise" Rapper Coolio Died at Age 59 — What Was His Cause of Death?

Pretty Honore - Author

Apr. 7 2023, Updated 10:30 a.m. ET

Source: Getty Images

September 2022 was a sad, sad month for hip-hop. Early in the month, outlets confirmed that 36-year-old Canadian recording artist Pat Stay had been stabbed to death. Weeks later, “Selfish” rapper PnB Rock was shot and killed while dining with his girlfriend and daughter at a Los Angeles eatery.

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On Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, we lost another hitmaker. TMZ announced that “Fantastic Voyage” rapper Coolio died at age 59. According to the outlet, the emcee was visiting a friend when he passed away suddenly. But what was his cause of death? Here’s what we know.

Source: Getty Images


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“Gangsta’s Paradise” rapper Coolio died at age 59. What was his cause of death?

On the afternoon of Sept. 28, 2022, paramedics responded to a medical emergency at a Los Angeles home. Coolio was pronounced dead upon their arrival.

On April 6, 2023, Jarel (Jarez) Posey, a spokesperson for Coolio's family, told TMZ that Coolio's cause of death was linked to fentanyl. He also reportedly "had traces of heroin and methamphetamines in his system." Another contributing factor in Coolio's death was "severe asthma and decades-long use of cigarettes," per investigators.

Following his passing, fellow rappers and fans alike took to social media to share their condolences.

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Flavor Flav, Coolio
Source: Getty Images

Flavor Flav and Coolio

Who was Coolio? Everything we know about the Compton-born rapper.

Millennials remember Coolio as the voice behind the Kenan and Kel theme song. But he was a big deal long before he was tapped for the Nickelodeon series.

Unlike many other hip-hop artists of the '90s, Coolio was unproblematic AF. Born in Compton, Calif, Coolio — born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. — rose to fame in the late '80s. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that he gained mainstream popularity.

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In 1995, he secured a Grammy for his performance of his classic 1995 hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise.” The visual for the popular single featured a cameo from '90s icon Michelle Pfeiffer. In addition to his music career, the rapper also did a brief stint on reality TV.

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Coolio’s Rules — which premiered in 2008 — detailed the life and times of the rapper’s family. In 2009, he competed in the CBS game show series Celebrity Big Brother. The following year, he returned for the series spinoff, Ultimate Big Brother.

Later, Coolio appeared on episodes of Wife Swap and Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.

In death, Coolio is survived by his ex-wife and 10 children.

In death, Coolio is survived by 10 children, four of which he welcomed with his ex-wife, Josefa Salinas. The two were married for four years before they parted ways.

Jarez told TMZ that Coolio's kids "will remember their dad for the great man he was," and that they want to make sure the public knows "how much they loved him, and how he conquered the world both on the stage and when he wasn't performing."

Coolio's family "plans to honor their dad through documentaries and film ... and continue the legacy that was his music."

May you rest easy in “Gangsta’s Paradise,” fam!

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