Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty died Thursday morning after he shot himself after an argument with his estranged wife at his Bronx apartment, sources told the Daily News. Lighty, 44 stepped outside his South Riverdale apartment about 11:30 a.m., after a spat with his wife, Veronica, police sources said. Suddenly, a gun shot was heard and Lighty was found lying faceup with a 9-mm. pistol next to his body, sources said. Law enforcement sources said Lighty — whose wife filed for divorce last year — may have been dealing with financial struggles, including owing about $5 million to the IRS.
Lighty, founder of Violator Management, merged with another talent company to form Primary Violator around the time of his divorce.
Musicians began Tweeting about Lighty soon after news of his death spread. “R.I.P CHRIS LIGHTY THE MAN THAT SAVED MY LIFE!!!” Bronx rapper Fat Joe posted on Twitter. “I Would Be Nothing Without YOU!!! My Kids Appreciate YOU God Bless Chris Lighty.”
The powerhouse behind Violater Records and management guided the careers of hip-hop heavyweights and stars such as Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes,Q-Tip, Missy Elliott, Fantasia, Mýa, Diggy Simmons, Cormega, Ja Rule, Mobb Deep, LL Cool J, Nas, and more. Jeff Robinson, who was close to Lighty, confirmed the tragic news on Twitter. Jeff Robinson
thejeffrobinson "So very sad about Chris lighty..Great long time friend,fellow bronxite and peer...incredible businessman and person." (VIBE)
In an era when label CEO's drop albums, romance pop-stars and parlay their mogul-dom into multiple endorsement deals, Chris Lighty, CEO of Violator Management, is a bit of an anomaly. Since 1989, his company has been stealthily creating strategic multi-million dollar opportunities for its artists' - among them 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, LL Cool J, Diddy, and Soulja Boy - in the areas of film, television, advertising, sports and finance. (Please Listen To My Demo) With little details coming in on this incident, we will keep Chris' family and friends in our prayers.