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Snoop Dogg lead tributes to Gangsta’s Paradise rapper, Coolio

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Singer Coolio performs before a panel discussion on his new Oxygen Network reality series "Coolio's Rules" at the NBC Universal summer 2008 press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 20, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser Snoop Dogg
Coolio recorded eight studio albums and won an American Music Award and three MTV Video Music Awards

Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube including other stars have been paying tribute to the US rapper Coolio who has died at the age of 59.

He was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a friend’s LA house, his manager Jarez Posey told US media.

Coolio, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey Jr, won a Grammy for the 1995 track Gangsta’s Paradise, which led the soundtrack for Dangerous Minds.

The exact cause of his death on Wednesday has not yet been revealed.

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However Mr Posey told TMZ, which first reported the news, that paramedics believed he may have had a cardiac arrest.

Coolio’s haunting track from it, which samples the Stevie Wonder song Pastime Paradise for its chorus, went on to become one of the most successful rap songs of all time, helping to bring the genre into the mainstream.

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It continues to be widely listened to and has just passed a billion streams on Spotify, according to his official website.

The first verse begins with Coolio reciting a line from the bible – “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” – before spinning off into a wide-ranging rap which finds him questioning the actions of those around him and wondering if he will “live to see 24”.

The film grossed nearly £85m (£78m) worldwide and the track became the biggest-selling record of the year in the US, and Coolio was awarded the Grammy for best rap solo performance.

Snoop Dogg referenced the track in his tribute to the late star online, while sharing a picture of himself and Coolio posing on the set of the music video for Gangsta Walk – a track they collaborated on in 2006.

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Fellow rapper and actor Ice Cube said: “This is sad news. I witness first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry,” while Vanilla Ice tweeted:“I’m freaking out I just heard my good friend Coolio passed away”.

Rapper MC Hammer described Coolio as “one of the nicest dudes I’ve known”.

“Good people. RIP Coolio,” he wrote, sharing a black and white picture of the rapper, and later posting a second picture of the pair together, along with Tupac and Snoop Dogg.

Oscar-winning musician and director Questlove simply tweeted: “Peaceful Journey Brother.”

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Rapper Flavor Flav said he and Coolio had been due to “perform together this Tuesday”, saying his friend was “the West Coast Flavor Flav… He loved telling everyone that.”

Singer Debbie Harry paid tribute by saying: “Rest in power”, while rapper LL Cool J wrote the same message, along with “Love & Respect”. Musician Al Yankovic posted a picture of himself with the late rapper.

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With a career spanning over four decades Coolio recorded eight studio albums and won an American Music Award and three MTV Video Music Awards.

His other hits included Fantastic Voyage, Rollin’ With My Homies, 1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New), and Too Hot.

He was active right up until his death – Coolio was in the middle of a tour with other 90s stars including Vanilla Ice and Young MC, and they performed in Texas just a few days ago.

Coolio had four children with ex-wife Josefa Salinas, whom he married in 1996 and later divorced. A complete list of his family was not immediately available.

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