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Chris Lighty, Hip-Hop Executive Who Worked With 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Found Dead

Chris Lighty
Jemal Countess, Getty Images

Veteran hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty died on Thursday morning (Aug. 30) from an apparent suicide. Details are scarce, but according to the New York Daily News, the executive was found dead in his apartment with a self-inflicted gun wound to the head.

A gun was found near the body and law enforcement sources have told the newspaper that Lighty could have been dealing with financial problems, including owing the IRS $5 million in back taxes. News of Lighty’s death first broke on Twitter and later by media reports.

Lighty, as the founder and CEO of Violator Entertainment, was the longtime manager of such influential rap artists as 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Missy Elliott, Nas, Ja Rule, LL Cool J and many others. Lighty started his career in the late ’80s working at Russell Simmons’ RUSH Management firm where he helped Def Jam Recording artists secure endorsement deals with fashion companies and sneaker brands.

Several rappers went on Twitter to express their condolences to the 44-year-old New York native.

“R.I.P. Chris Lighty,” tweeted Fat Joe. “That man saved my life.” Ghostface Killah wrote, “Hard one to grab Yo damn…. My most humble prayers to the family of Chris Lighty!”

Chris Robinson, former manager of Alicia Keys, tweeted, “So very sad about Chris lighty..Great long time friend, fellow bronxite and peer…incredible businessman and person.” Mary J. Blige also wrote, “U never know what can send a person over the edge or make them want 2 keep living. Take it easy on people. We are so fragile.”

We would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the Lighty family and his associates. Rest in Peace, Chris Lighty. Your impact on hip-hop was truly felt.

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