Music Executive Chris Lighty, Longtime 50 Cent Manager, Dies of Apparent Suicide

Chris Lighty portrait P

The 44-year-old hip-hop veteran was found dead in his Bronx home on Thursday morning. Writes Russell Simmons: "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."

Music executive Chris Lighty has died, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The New York Daily News reports that the hip-hop veteran apparently shot himself in the head in his Bronx apartment. He was found at 11:30 a.m., police sources tell the paper, with a gun next to his body. Lighty was 44.

The chief operating officer at Primary Violator, a partnership between Lighty's Violator Management and Primary Wave Music -- home to Cee-Lo Green -- that was unveiled in September 2011, Lightly was the longtime manager of 50 Cent and brought with him a roster that included artists such as Mariah Carey, Soulja Boy, L.L. Cool J, Busta Rhymes and Diddy. Lighty supervised some 42 employees at Primary Violator. He had previously represented A Tribe Called Quest and Missy Elliott and worked with Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen at Rush Management. 

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According to the Daily News, Lighty might have been dealing with financial issues following a divorce last year that included owing millions of dollars to the IRS. A source tells THR that Lightly was seen in the office as recently as Wednesday.

Word around the music community spread quickly as industry execs and artists alike (among them: Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Ice T and Chuck D) expressed their condolences. Rapper Fat Joe tweeted, “THAT MAN SAVED MY LIFE ... I Would Be Nothing Without YOU!!! My Kids Appreciate YOU God Bless Chris Lighty.”

On his Global Grind blog, Simmons posted a few thoughts on his longtime friend, writing: "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."

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Lighty himself last tweeted on Aug. 28, "Life is about perspective. It's not what you see, but how you see it. What you see is what you get."

Three hours after news broke on Thursday, 50 Cent released a statement. It reads:

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend and business partner Chris Lighty. Chris has been an important part of my business and personal growth for a decade. 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."

It was followed by a statement from Larry Mestel, CEO of Primary Wave Music, who writes: "We are extremely shocked and sadden by this tragic news. Chris was a friend, business partner and most of all, an icon, role model and true legend of the music and entertainment industry. He will be missed by many and we send love and support to his family."

Twitter: @THRMusic