Early Thursday afternoon, news broke that Hip Hop mogul Chris Lighty,44, had died from, what seemed to be at the time, a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head.
Chris Lighty’s body was discovered at his Bronx apartment following a headed argument with estranged wife, Veronica Lighty, 36. Reports have since surfaced that he also had financial constraints. He reportedly owed the IRS approximately 5 million dollars at the time of his death.
Adding to that stress, the couple were in the midst of a bitter divorce.
Lighty’s younger brother, David Lighty, initially questioned the details of his brother’s death and insisted further investigation be done. However, on Friday, investigators officially ruled the death a suicide.
The apparent suicide came as a shock to the Hip Hop community, and almost immediately, artists and colleagues poured out their hearts paying their respects via Twitter. The long list of artists includes 50 Cent,Rihanna, Diddys, Brandy, Fat Joe, Reverend Run, fellow mogul Russell Simmons and BET’s Terrence J and Rocsi Diaz. Although he helped to pioneer the career and successes for many of these musicians, past and present, many still wondered, who is Chris Lighty?
To give you some background information, Chris Lighty founded the successful multi-media conglomerate Violator Records and Management Company in the 1990’s. His path to being a well respected Hip Hop mogul began when he turned down a college scholarship to begin working to provide for his single mother and 5 younger siblings. During this time he also worked as an assistant carrying vinyl record crates for top hip-hop DJ Red Alert. In 1988 his part-time gig led him to meeting and working for fellow mogul Russell Simmons. He’s since helped to pioneer the careers of 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Q Tip, Diggy Simmons, Busta Rhymes,Missy Elliot, and Fat Joe just to name a few.
He also served as manger to Mariah Carey, Diddy and helped broker the largest endorsement deal in Hip Hop to date. He assisted 50 Cent with his investment in Vitamin water in 2004. When Coca Cola paid $4.1 billion dollars for the company 3 years later, 50 Cent garnered $100 million. Lighty was paid an undisclosed amount.
It was clear the mogul had been putting his life into perspective when he sent out some eerie tweets just days before his death.