Vanilla Ice Pays Tribute To Coolio Following Passing

30 September 2022 | 10:11 am | Brenton Harris

"I'm truly devastated."

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Tributes have flown in from stars of the music and entertainment industry, following the sudden passing of rap pioneer Coolio. 

The rapper, who was most famous for the iconic Gangsta's Paradise featuring R&B singer LV, passed away while visiting a friend on Wednesday afternoon. As reported by TMZ,  Coolio's manager Jarez said that the friend found the rapper on the floor in the bathroom and called paramedics, who pronounced him dead on the scene. It’s suspected that he suffered cardiac arrest, although an official cause of death has not been released.

The death of the rapper, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr, was confirmed by Sheila Finegan, who represented him at Trinity Artists International, and said in a statement: “We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon.

“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.”

Following the confirmation of his passing, a host of stars took to social media to post glowing tributes to a musical pioneer and friend.

Vanilla Ice opened up on the passing of an artist he called "a great friend", telling TMZ  "My heart goes out to all the family. I'm truly devastated. He was a great friend." Coolio's final live performance was alongside Vanilla Ice, with Ice, real name Robert Matthew Van Winkle, telling TMZ that Coolio came out onstage with him Friday night to freestyle during his set, and after the show, they hung out in Ice's dressing room with Coolio smiling and talking about life and seeming to be in great shape. The last thing Coolio said to Vanilla Ice ... "See you tomorrow, homie."

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Actor Michelle Pfeiffer, who played the lead role in the film Dangerous Minds on which Gangsta's Paradise featured, reflected on the passing via Instagram.

Pfeiffer said: “Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist @coolio. A life cut entirely too short. 30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song. Sending love and light to his family.”

Rap legend Ice Cube responded to Coolio's death on Twitter,  writing "This is sad news, I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace @Coolio”

Rap god Snoop Dogg shared his condolences writing "Gangstas paradise. R I P” on Twitter, while U Can’t Touch This rapper MC Hammer called him "one of the nicest dudes I’ve known”.

Rapping since the late '80s, Ivey joined the notable WC & The Maad Circle before signing a solo deal with Tommy Boy Records and breaking through with Fantastic Voyage from 1994's It Takes A Thief.

He then found longevity with Dangerous Minds soundtrack megahit Gangsta's Paradise featuring R&B singer LV — it was 1995's top-selling single and won a Grammy. "Weird Al" Yankovic even parodied it.

Ivey also landed numerous acting roles throughout his career, cameoing in Batman & Robin and participating in reality TV.

He was last in the country in April, headlining the long-awaited Made In The '90s concert tour alongside All-4-One, Renee Neufville and more after numerous setbacks and postponements due to the pandemic, taking on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Speaking with The Music in 2017 ahead of the I Love The ‘90s Tour alongside Salt N Pepa, Vanilla Ice and Color Me Badd, Ivey said: "I've always felt like I've made timeless music.

"I never write trendy songs and use a lot of trendy words — I don't do that so that, when the song gets a little older, people will be like, 'Oh, that was a long time ago, nobody don't talk about that no more.' The kind of things that I talk about, people will be talking about for the rest of their lives.”