Hip Hop mogul Chris Lighty, the manager of artists such as Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott, 50 Cent, and Busta Rhymes, was found dead Thursday morning at his Bronx, NY apartment. He was 44.
Police found Mr. Lighty at around 11:30 am, TMZ reports. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
He was found with a gunshot wound to the head, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. A suicide note was not found, but police did find a 9mm handgun at the scene with no signs of forced entry.
Police are investigating Chris Lighty's death as a suicide, The NY Times reports.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Lighty founded and ran his own management company, Violator, which was extremely successful. Over the last year, however, Lighty had been in the midst of divorce, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. He had been dealing with personal and financial problems, and those close with him have said he just wasn't the same.
Chris Lighty was one of the most powerful forces in Hip-Hop. He was extremely instrumental in making Hip-Hop a major commercial force, The NY Times reports.
He landed rapper LL Cool J in Gap ads, and also reached endorsement deals with Mountain Dew for his rapper Busta Rhymes, and Sprite for Hip-Hop group A Tribe Called Quest.
Hip-Hop artists and other members of the Hip-Hop community have taken to Twitter and other media outlets to express their sadness over this tragic loss.
Fat Joe, a former client of Mr. Lighty, tweeted "RIP Chris Lighty." Diddy simply wrote "In Shock."
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, 50 Cent said in a statement, which was issued by his publicist, that he was "deeply saddened by the loss."
"Chris has been a part of my business and personal growth for a decade," he said. "He was a good friend and advisor who helped me develop as an artist and businessman. My prayers are with his family. He will be greatly missed."
In 2004, Chris Lighty brokered a deal between 50 Cent and the Glaceau company, which gave 50 a stake in the company and his own Vitamin Water flavor. The rapper reportedly loved Vitamin Water. Coca Cola bought out Glaceau for $400 billion dollars 3 years later, and 50 Cent's take was estimated to be worth $100.
In 2006, another one of Lighty's clients, the Hip-Hop group Three Six Mafia, won the Oscar for Best Original song for their hit "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp," from the movie Hustle & Flow starring Terrence Howard.
Russell Simmons, whose company Rush Management gave Mr. Lighty his start in the business posted a blog post on the loss of his friend.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of a Hip-Hop hero. Chris Lighty has been a dear friend of mine since he was a kid. He was a brilliant partner in business and I was so proud of all he 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 greatly missed by all of us."