Rapper Coolio’s primary cause of death revealed by coroner: fentanyl and other drugs

Coolio raps onstage in a seafoam green shirt and baseball cap, one hand extended, the other holding a microphone to his mouth
Rapper Coolio’s cause of death was revealed Thursday.
(Rob Grabowski / Invision/Associated Press)

Rapper Coolio died in September due to the effects of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine, the Los Angeles medical examiner determined Thursday.

The Grammy-winning “Gangsta’s Paradise” rapper, whose real name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died Sept. 28, 2022. He was 59.

According to information in the coroner database on Thursday, cardiomyopathy, asthma and recent PCP use also factored into the musician’s death. Cardiomyopathy is a “disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body,” according to the Mayo Clinic.


Coolio, who grew up in Compton and died Wednesday afternoon, won a Grammy for ‘Gangsta’s Paradise,’ which was featured in the movie ‘Dangerous Minds.’

Sept. 28, 2022

His death was ruled an accident.

In September, Coolio’s representative Jarez Posey told TMZ that the musician was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor at a friend’s house. He suspected cardiac arrest was to blame. Posey told the website Thursday that fentanyl was found to have killed the rapper, who also had traces of heroin and methamphetamine in his system.

“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client,” Coolio’s manager Sheila Finegan announced in September. “He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly.”

The late rapper wasn’t just an entry point for a generation of hip-hop fans. He also built the bridge over the gap and crossed it with them.

Sept. 29, 2022

Shortly after news of the rapper’s death spread, fellow musicians and Hollywood stars paid tribute on social media.

“RIP Coolio,” tweeted “Weird Al” Yankovic. In 1996, he parodied the rapper’s biggest hit with “Amish Paradise.”

“Dangerous Minds” star Michelle Pfeiffer honored the “gift artist” in an Instagram video.

Michelle Pfeiffer attributed the success of ‘Dangerous Minds’ to Coolio and his music. She was among the many who honored the late rapper online.

Sept. 29, 2022

“A life cut entirely too short,” Pfeiffer captioned an Instagram video. “As some of you may know I was lucky enough to work with him on Dangerous Minds in 1995. He won a Grammy for his brilliant song on the soundtrack — which I think was the reason our film saw so much success.”

The rapper’s family will honor his legacy “through documentaries and film,” TMZ said Thursday.


Coolio was cremated. He is survived by 10 children. He was married only once to radio personality Josefa Salinas, who died in November.