A life of musicmaking. Coolio died at the age of 59 in September 2022 after a decades-long career as a rapper, record producer and actor.
“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” a rep for the “Fantastic Voyage” artist told Us Weekly after his death. “He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly. Thank you to everyone worldwide who has listened to his music and to everyone who has been reaching out regarding his passing. Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
The California native began his music career in the ‘80s and achieved mainstream success the following decade, winning a Grammy Award for Rap Solo Performance in 1996 for “Gangsta’s Paradise.”
“It’s one of those kinds of songs that transcends generations,” the Cookin’ With Coolio author said of the track in a July 2022 interview on The Six O’Clock Show. “I didn’t use any trendy words … I think it made it timeless.”
The musician also provided the opening song to the 1996 Nickelodeon show Kenan & Kel. Kenan Thompson, who starred in the comedy series, paid homage to the late rapper after his death. “Damn homie!!! Rest in power!!!” he wrote via his Instagram Story alongside a photo of the “C U When U Get There” artist.
Known for his playful take on heavy subjects, Coolio was candid about his struggles with drug use, especially in the years prior to him finding success as a rapper.
“Up to the mid-’80s, I was into cocaine,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. “I was a wild man then — real crazy. I had a reputation for doing crazy things like hitting people over the head with bottles and stuff like that. That happens when you grow up in Compton … you survive how you can. Drugs are just one of the pitfalls. I fell in … deep.”
The “It Takes a Thief” musician was married to radio broadcaster Josefa Salinas from 1996 to 2000. They share four children: Artisha, Brandi, Jackie and Artis. According to The Sun, the Celebrity Big Brother alum had between six and ten children total with multiple women.
Coolio’s four children with Salinas appeared on his short-lived 2008 reality series Coolio’s Rules.
“I’m just trying to approach things from a different way,” the “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)” artist told the Daily News in October 2008 while promoting the show. “I’m trying to have a fresh perspective on dealing with kids because kids today have to deal with so much more than what I had to deal with when I was their age.”
Scroll through for a look back at Coolio’s life through the years: