According to The NY Times, Coolio, whose legal name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., achieved mainstream superstardom and critical success with his biggest hit, “Gangsta’s Paradise,” in 1995. A grim, minor-key track that featured the singer L.V. and drew on Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise,” spent three weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100 and was named the chart’s No. 1 song of the year. It won the Grammy for best rap solo performance in 1996 and was later certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, outshining the movie it was featured in, the high school drama “Dangerous Minds.”
His manager, Jarez Posey, confirmed the death. Mr. Posey, who worked with Coolio for more than 20 years, said he was told that he died at a friend’s house. No cause was given.