The late rapper Coolio had avoided drugs and excessive drinking in the years leading up to his death despite previously struggling with substance abuse, according to a close friend.
The hip-hop star, best known for his 1995 hit Gangsta’s Paradise, died last Wednesday in Los Angeles. from a suspected cardiac arrest. He was 59.
The rap artist’s history of substance abuse and crack cocaine addiction led some fans to speculate that he died of a drug overdose after being found on his friend’s bathroom floor in downtown LA.
But his manager said the cause appeared to be a heart attack, and a close friend also testified to Coolio’s sobriety in recent years.
Coolio had a history of drug abuse and crack cocaine addiction but was sober in the years leading up to his death, a friend of the rapper told DailyMail.com
Coolio’s manager and close friend Eric Yano (pictured) said he never saw him drink or take drugs in the 18 years he knew him
Eric Yano, a Vegas-based friend of the late rapper who has known him for 18 years, told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that despite Coolio’s struggles with drugs in the past, he had never seen him drink, smoking or taking any drugs during their two-decade friendship.
‘He would never turn up drunk or on another planet like most people. I never saw him drink. He usually wanted a glass of water,” Yano said.
‘Many would ask to smoke a joint with him, but he never smoked.
‘When the news came yesterday of his death I was shocked. Was it something health related?
‘But I was just at his place a few weeks ago and he seemed perfectly fine. No mention of any kind of heart disease or any medical condition.’
Yano, 45, who hosts VIP events at MGM hotels and casinos in Vegas, said he first met Yano around 2004 on the Strip looking for a cab, gave him a ride home and became firm friends from then on.
The nightlife mogul and rapper had launched a new business, Send Me To Vegas, which involved guests paying for a party bus ride on the Strip accompanied by Coolio, entertaining his guests and singing his hit songs along the way.
Despite his stunning success with multi-platinum records and his biggest hit, Gangsta’s Paradise, which reached one billion YouTube views in July this year, Coolio was not a rich man, his friend revealed.
Coolio, best known for his 1995 hit Gangsta’s Paradise, was not a rich man at the time of his death, despite his huge success with his greatest hits and other multi-platinum records
Eric Yano shared videos of him and Coolio hanging out in Las Vegas before his death
Documents from a 2010 child support case filed by his ex Anabella Chatman show he earned just $1,387 a month.
Yano told DailyMail.com that Coolio loved performing and was less focused on making money.
“What mattered to Coolio was entertaining people, whether it was up on stage or just in conversation at dinner,” he said.
Coolio fathered at least 11 children. Four were with his first wife, LA city official and radio personality Josefa Salinas, and at least two were with his current long-term partner, model Mimi Ivey, and others with multiple girlfriends.
At the time of his death, he was living in Las Vegas but had traveled to Los Angeles to correct a problem he had with his passport.
The rapper had scheduled shows in Germany this weekend and therefore needed proper documentation.
Coolio’s manager, Jarez, said he was preparing to join the rapper when he received a call about the bathroom collapse.
The manager subsequently said he was told Coolio died of a heart attack, although that has yet to be confirmed.
Police did not find drugs or drug paraphernalia in the bathroom.
Fan Mika Janday shared a photo posing with Coolio, who appeared happy, healthy and engaged just days before his unexpected death at the age of 59
Passed: EMTs pronounced Coolio dead at the scene, and an autopsy is now underway to determine the official cause of death — though law enforcement sources shared that ‘no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found at the scene’
Gone too soon: The musician – famous for his hit song Gangsta’s Paradise – was visiting a friend on Wednesday afternoon when he was found dead (pictured 10 days ago)
Devastated fans have since highlighted the singer’s lifelong asthma as a possible cause of death.
He was regularly seen puffing on an inhaler at concerts, although his friend and longtime manager, Jarez, claims he died of a heart attack
On the day of his death, Coolio had reportedly gone to the bathroom at a friend’s house, but did not appear for a long time.
This prompted the friend to investigate the matter. Coolio was lying on the bathroom floor unresponsive when he was found.
The friend called 911 and EMTs responded quickly but found no signs of life.
A cause of death has not yet been confirmed by a medical examiner.