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OTRC: Chris Lighty, manager of Hip-Hop stars, dies at 44 of apparent suicide

This Feb. 28, 2007 file photo shows hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty in his office in New York. (Jim Cooper, file)

Chris Lighty, manager of Hip-Hop stars like 50-Cent and Missy Elliot, has died at age 44 of an apparent suicide.

Lighty died of an apparent gunshot wound to the head on August 30 at his home in the Bronx borough of New York, according to the Associated Press. No suicide note was found and there was no sign of forced entry, New York Police Department chief spokesman Paul Browne said in a statement.

Authorities said that the gunshot wound appeared to be self-inflicted and a .9-mm handgun was found at the scene.

Law enforcement sources told the New York Daily News that Lighty owed the IRS about $5 million dollars. In 2009, he confirmed to the New York Post that he was one of the clients cheated in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

Lighty reportedly had an argument with his ex-wife Veronica, before his apparent suicide. The couple separated in November of last year.

Lighty had been in the rap industry for several decades and worked with artists like LL Cool J, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Mariah Carey, Three 6 Mafia and Busta Rhymes.

He got his start working for D.J. Red Alert, before being hired by Russell Simmon's company Rush Management. He eventually founded hip-hop management company Violator, named after his former gang, in the early 1990's.

"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," Russell Simmons said in a statement on his official website on August 30. "[He] 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."

Lighty was credited with helping rap's major players attain hit records and lucrative careers outside of music, including 50 Cent's deal with Glaceau and Vitamin Water, which earned the rapper an estimated $100 million when Coca-Cola bought Glaceau.

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