Chris Lighty, the hip-hop mogul who had guided artists like Mariah Carey, 50 Cent and LL Cool J to stardom, was found dead yesterday behind his Bronx home, a death that has been ruled a suicide. He was 44.
According to multiple reports, the owner of Violator Management went outside and shot himself in the head after a heated argument with his estranged wife Veronica. Police found him lying face up on his patio next to a 9-mm. pistol.
News of Lighty’s death spread quickly via the Internet, prompting an outpouring of shock, grief and remembrance on the Twitter feeds of Nick Cannon, Diddy, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Missy Elliot and a host of others. “Words cannot express the sadness we share today,” wrote Mariah Carey.
One of the primary behind-the-scenes forces in the hip-hop market, Lighty had managed and/or represented some of the biggest names in the field. He was particularly known for brokering lucrative endorsement deals for his artists, including deals with Sprite for Missy Elliot and A Tribe Called Quest, and with The Gap for LL Cool J. More recently, Lighty was the architect for 50 Cent’s noted multi-million dollar Vitamin Water deal.
Lighty’s story is a classic rags-to-riches tale of a kid growing up in the projects of the Bronx, raised with 5 siblings and a single mother in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of New York, and working his way up the ranks of the music industry to become one of the most influential people in hip-hop. He will be greatly missed.