Chris Lighty, a music manager who has worked with the likes of Mariah Carey, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and 50 Cent, shot and killed himself on Thursday morning following an argument with his ex-wife at his Bronx home. Police sources tell the New York Daily News that the 44-year-old was also having some financial issues and owed a staggering $5 million to the IRS in back taxes. According to the New York Post’s Page Six, Lighty’s bank account was hit hard following his divorce from his wife of seven years, Veronica, last year.
Immediately following news of the Violator Management founder’s death, musicians who worked with Lighty over the years flocked to Twitter to pay their respects. “Rest peacefully Chris Lighty, my prayers go out to family and loved ones!” wrote Rihanna, adding, “Dear God please have mercy.” Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons tweeted, “Today, we lost a hip-hop hero and one of its greatest architects.” Even Kim Kardashian found a way to get in on the Twitter love for Lighty, writing, “Such sad news about Chris Lighty. He was an amazing partner in my fragrance LightHouse Beauty & friend. You will be missed!”
A big user of Twitter himself, Lighty had more than 50,000 followers and tweeted often about the music industry and inspirational sayings. His last post, two days before he committed suicide, read: “Life is about perspective. It’s not what you see, but how you see it. What you see is what you get.”
Lighty was also responsible for orchestrating one of the most lucrative endorsement deals in hip-hop history: 50 Cent’s collaboration with VitaminWater for his Formula 50 drink. As part of the deal, the rapper-actor received an equity stake in VitaminWater’s parent company, Glaceau. When Coca-Cola bought Glaceau four years later for $4.1 billion, 50 Cent earned a staggering $100 million – and Light got an undisclosed cut as well.