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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.

Former housemate Coolio at the Celebrity Big Brother Final, at Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
Coolio rose to prominence in the 1990s for his hit song Gangsta’s Paradise (Zak Hussein/PA)

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.

Undated Channel 4 handout photo of Coolio a contestant in Ultimate Big Brother
Coolio was a contestant in Ultimate Big Brother (Channel 4/PA Wire)
Coolio at the 1997 Mobo Awards
Coolio at the 1997 Mobo Awards (Adam Butler/PA)

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.

Chantelle and Coolio in the Ultimate Big Brother house
Chantelle and Coolio in the Ultimate Big Brother house (Channel 4/PA)
Handout photo dated 06/01/09 from day 5 in the Celebrity Big Brother house, of housemate Coolio in the bath
Coolio was a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2009 (Channel 4/PA)
Coolio on the big screen as he enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire
Coolio on the big screen as he enters the Celebrity Big Brother house at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire (Yui Mok/PA)
Channel 4 handout photo dated 11/01/09 from Day 9 in the Celebrity Big Brother house, of housemate Coolio
Celebrity Big Brother house (Channel 4/PA)
Celebrity Big Brother house, of the housemates Tommy Sheridan and Coolio
Celebrity Big Brother housemates Tommy Sheridan and Coolio (PA)
Handout photo dated 06/01/09 from day 5 in the Celebrity Big Brother house, of housemates (from left to right) Coolio, Terry Christian and Tommy Sheridan during the King for a day task
Celebrity Big Brother housemates (from left to right) Coolio, Terry Christian and Tommy Sheridan during the King for a day task (Channel 4/PA)

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.

Coolio
Coolio died on Wednesday (Alamy/PA)