New York City medical examiners have officially ruled the death of Chris Lighty a suicide, the Daily News reports. The influential hip-hop manager died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on Thursday at the age of 44.
Lighty was found dead in the back yard of his Bronx home, where he had reportedly been arguing with his estranged wife, Veronica Lighty. Veronica Lighty told the Daily News that her husband, who had made millions in endorsement deals for artists including 50 Cent, LL Cool J and Missy Elliot, was suffering from financial stress. Sources said he owed more than $300,000 to the IRS in unpaid state and federal taxes.
“He was in a lot of pain and he possibly had some financial difficulties,” said family friend Norman Downes.
Lighty, whose clients included hip-hop and pop megastars like Busta Rhymes, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mariah Carey, has been the subject of wide-ranging tributes among his music-industry peers in the days following his death.
“RIP Chris Lighty,” Russell Simmons tweeted. “Today, we lost a hip-hop hero and one of its greatest architects…”