Coolio’s untimely death and the life expectancy of Black male celebrities

Early mortality is in the spotlight again
Coolio's untimely death and the life expectancy of Black male celebrities
Coolio/Facebook

The untimely death of rapper Coolio at 59 sparked up a larger conversation when physician Oni Blackstock tweeted a list of Black celebs who died at relatively young ages. The doctor tweeted a short list of some of the Black male figures in hip-hop who have died since 2020. The list includes DMX at 50, Black Rob at 57, Biz Markie at 57 and Shock G at 57.

The list didn’t include MF DOOM, who died at 49, or Black male celebrities outside of hip-hop like movie director John Singleton, who died at 51 in 2019; singer Jesse Powell, who died at 51; comedian David A. Arnold, who died at 54; actor Chadwick Boseman, who died at 43; actor Michael K. Williams, who died at 54; designer Virgil Abloh, who died at 41; and internet personality Kevin Samuels, who died at 57.


According to the CDC, in 2020, Black men had a life expectancy of 68.3 years, the lowest of any demographic. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Black men, and according to a 2021 CDC study, the condition accounted for 24.1%  of the fatalities. Cancer comes in at 19.7%, Alzheimer’s Disease at 7.9%, stroke at 5% and homicide rounded out the top five at 4.5%.

The most common cause of heart disease is a buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries, according to the Mayo Clinic. Risk factors of heart disease include a poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity and smoking. Healthy lifestyle choices can help lower the risk of heart disease.


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