Michelle Pfeiffer, the prolific screen star of the ‘80s and ‘90s, has paid tribute to Coolio as a “gracious man” whose mega-hit “Gangsta’s Paradise” powered the success of one of her own films, Dangerous Minds.
Coolio was found dead on the bathroom floor at his friend’s house on Wednesday (Sept. 28), at the age of 59. Paramedics initially suspect that he suffered cardiac arrest, reports claim, though an official cause of death has yet to be announced.
Pfeiffer joined the chorus of tributes to Coolio, whose career briefly intersected with hers and created dynamite at the box office and on sales charts around the globe.
“Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist Coolio. A life cut entirely too short,” she writes on social media.
“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. I remember him being nothing but gracious. 30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song.”
She’s not the only one still touched by the song. In July of this year, the official music video for “Gangsta’s Paradise” passed the one billion streams milestone on YouTube.
That clip featured Pfeiffer in her Dangerous Minds character Louanne Johnson, and went on to win best rap video category at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards.
The track, one of Coolio’s six hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, would go on to win the Billboard Music Award for single of the year, and a Grammy for best rap solo performance.
The single interpoles Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise,” and was deemed the best-selling single on Billboard‘s year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart after spending 12 weeks in the top two positions; it logged a total of 62 weeks on the chart, including 3 at No. 1 and 11 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Rap Songs survey.
Dangerous Minds, which observes the day-to-day of Johnson, an ex-Marine now teaching at a tough inner-city school, grossed more than $179 million worldwide on a budget of about $22 million, according to IMDB.
“Sending love and light to his family,” Pfeiffer signs off. “Rest in Power, Artis Leon Ivey Jr.”