Chris Lighty, hip-hop mogul and manager whose star clients have included 50 Cent, Diddy, Mariah Carey, Ja Rule, LL Cool J and Soulja Boy, died of an apparent suicide today (Aug. 30). He was 44.
According to the New York Daily News, Lighty shot himself in the head after an argument with his ex-wife, Veronica, in New York City.
The music executive reportedly has had financial problems since his divorce last year — including a $5 million IRS bill.
Lighty’s management company, Violator, merged with another talent agency to form Primary Violator last year. He got his start in the industry in 1988 at Rush Management, where he was mentored by Russell Simmons.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a hip-hop hero,” Simmons writes on Global Grind. “Chris Lighty has been a dear friend of mine since he was a kid. Was a brilliant partner in business and I was so proud of all that he had accomplished. He is an amazing example of how a passionate kid from the street can go to the most even-keeled, smart, thoughtful manager in the business and a generous philanthropist.
“He was loved by everyone who knew him, including me. He will be missed greatly by all of us.”