The NY Daily News is reporting that Lighty was found dead at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday morning in his Bronx apartment with a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head.
The hip hop world is in mourning in the wake of the sudden death of Chris Lighty, the legendary manager and CEO of Violator Entertainment.
Lighty, 44, got his start carrying crates for fellow Bronx native DJ Red Alert back in the '80s, before landing a coveted gig at Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen's Rush Management. Lighty was closely linked to the Native Tongues movement in its early days, even dropping a rhyme on "Pass the 40" from Black Sheep's classic 1991 debut, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing. But he became an industry icon when he started Violator Entertainment, the management firm, record label and marketing company that guided the careers of 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and more. He helped build his massive stable of artists into a branding empire, snagging deals that included commercials, endorsements as well as video games, fragrance, beverage and clothing lines.
Many rappers and industry figures expressed their sadness on Twitter.
"R.I.P CHRIS LIGHTY THE MAN THAT SAVED MY LIFE!!!" Fat Joe wrote.
"RIP Chris Lighty --- a very Sad day in Hip Hop and Life itself --- my brother is gone," DJ Whoo Kid tweeted.
Though initial reports have claimed the cause of death is suicide, that has not yet been confirmed. Stay tuned here for details on this tragic story as they emerge.
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(Photo: Johnny Nunez/Getty Images)