Chris Lighty, 44, an influential manager of hip-hop stars like 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Missy Elliott, and Diddy, was found dead Thursday morning at his home in New York City, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police said that they were investigating the death as a suicide. A representative of his company, Primary Violator, did not immediately respond to requests for information.
One of the most powerful figures in the hip-hop business, Mr. Lighty helped establish the genre as a major commercial force - complete with huge record deals and tie-ins with commercial brands - during its peak in the 1990s and early 2000s. Violator, which he founded in the early 1990s, was the dominant management company in hip-hop at the time, with a stable of stars that, like Mr. Lighty himself, had street roots and big-business ambitions.