Real name Artis Leon Ivey Jr, Coolio emerged onto the LA rap scene in the 1980's, earning a Grammy for best solo rap appearance with his hit Gangsta's Paradise that propelled him to international fame.
Coolio’s manager at Trinity Artists International, Sheila Finegan, confirmed the death to the PA news agency.
“We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend and client, Coolio, who passed away this afternoon,” the agency said in a statement shared with PA.
“He touched the world with the gift of his talent and will be missed profoundly.
“Thank you to everyone worldwide who has listened to his music and to everyone who has been reaching out regarding his passing.
“Please have Coolio’s loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”
The five-time Grammy nominee was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor of a friend’s house in Los Angeles, according to US media outlet TMZ.
As well as for his successful music career, Coolio became well known in the UK for his appearances on Channel 4 reality show Big Brother.
The rapper came third in the sixth series of UK Celebrity Big Brother in 2009, losing out to broadcaster Terry Christian, who was the runner-up, and presenter and model Ulrika Jonsson, who won.
Jonsson told PA that his death was a “shock” but the pair had shared “so many laughs” together.
“I spent a fair bit of time with Coolio – he was a misogynist, broke wind a lot; he fancied himself as a cook but my God, we had so many laughs,” she said.
He also made a surprise guest at Celtic's home match with Hibernian in 2017 as a special guest of Tommy Sheridan.
The rapper was born in Pennsylvania, but later moved to Compton, California, where he released his first single in 1987.
He recorded Gangsta’s Paradise for the 1995 film Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, and it went on to become one of the most successful rap songs of all time.
Pfeiffer said she was “heartbroken” to hear the news of his death, adding that she remembered him as “nothing but gracious” when they worked together.
“Heartbroken to hear of the passing of the gifted artist @coolio,” she wrote on Instagram, sharing a clip of the film featuring the track.
“A life cut entirely too short.
“I remember him being nothing but gracious. 30 years later I still get chills when I hear the song.
“Sending love and light to his family. Rest in Power, Artis Leon Ivey Jr.”
Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and MC Hammer, paid their respects to him after the news was shared on social media.
Former NWA star Ice Cube said he had witnessed Coolio’s “grind to the top of the industry” in his own tribute.
“This is sad news,” the rapper and actor wrote on Twitter.
“I witnessed first hand this man’s grind to the top of the industry. Rest In Peace @Coolio.”
MC Hammer described Coolio as “one of the nicest dudes I’ve known” as he shared a picture of the pair together with Tupac and Snoop.