Late rapper Coolio had steered clear of drugs and excess drinking in the years leading up to his death despite struggling with substance abuse in the past, 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 drug abuse and crack cocaine addiction led some fans to speculate 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 close friend Eric Yano (pictured) said never saw him drink or take any drugs in the 18 years he knew him, his manager also said his cause of death appeared to be a heart attack
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, smoke or take any substances during their two-decade friendship.
‘He would never show up intoxicated or on a different planet like most people. I never saw him drinking. He’d usually have a glass of water,’ Yano said.
‘A lot of people would ask to smoke a joint with him but he never smoked.
‘When the news came yesterday about his passing, I was shocked. Was it something health related?
‘But I was just with him a few weeks ago, and he seemed completely fine. No mention of any sort of heart condition or any medical condition.’
Yano, 45, who runs VIP events at MGM hotels and casinos in Vegas, said he first met Coolio around 2004 on the Strip looking for a cab, gave him a ride home and became firm friends from then on.
The nightlife rep and the rapper had launched a new business, Send Me To Vegas, which involved guests paying for a party bus tour of the Strip accompanied by Coolio, entertaining his guests and singing his hit songs on the ride.
Despite his stellar success with multi-platinum records and his biggest hit, Gangsta’s Paradise, reaching a 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 stellar success with his biggest hit and other multi-platinum records
Eric Yano shared videos of him and Coolio hanging out in Las Vegas prior to his death
Documents from a 2010 child support case filed by his ex Anabella Chatman show he was making just $1,387 per month.
Yano told DailyMail.com Coolio loved performing and was less focused on making money.
‘What mattered to Coolio was entertaining people, whether that 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 several girlfriends.
At the time of his death, he was living in Las Vegas, but had traveled to Los Angeles to correct an issue he was having with his passport.
The rapper had shows scheduled in Germany this weekend and so was in need of proper documentation.
Coolio’s manager, Jarez, said he was preparing to join the rapper when he received a call about the collapse in the bathroom.
The manager subsequently said he was told Coolio died of a heart attack, though that has not yet been confirmed.
Police did not discover drugs or drug paraphernalia in the bathroom.
Fan Mika Janday shared a photo posing with Coolio, who appeared happy, healthy, and engaging just days before his unexpected death at age 59
Passing: EMTs pronounced Coolio dead on the scene and an autopsy is now underway to establish 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 gigs, 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 emerge for a long time.
That prompted the friend to investigate. Coolio was laying on the bathroom floor unresponsive when he was found.
The friend called emergency services and EMTs quickly responded but found no signs of life.
A cause of death has not yet been confirmed by a medical examiner.