Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty killed himself Thursday after a heated argument with his estranged wife in the Bronx, police sources told the Daily News.
Lighty — a longtime manager who worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Diddy, Ja Rule and Mariah Carey — shot himself in the head behind his South Riverdale home about 11:30 a.m., the sources said.
Cops found Lighty, 44, the founder and chief of Violator Management, lying faceup on the basement patio in a pool of blood with a 9-mm. pistol at his side, the sources said.
The shocking suicide followed a wild spat between Lighty and his 36-year-old wife, Veronica, who filed for divorce last year. Moving trucks were at the home, as the veteran music manager prepared to move out of the three-story townhouse, sources said.
Law enforcement sources said Lighty’s wife of seven years told police he was facing financial woes that include a $5 million debt to the IRS. However, the Associated Press reported that Lighty paid off most of what he owed by selling a Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million in October.
Lighty still owed more than $330,000 in state and federal taxes, the AP reported. And in April, he was sued by City National Bank for not paying them after he had overdrawn his account by $53,584.
His 17-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son were inside the W. 232nd St. home and left when the argument erupted. They were in a park nearby when Lighty, who has three other children, stepped outside and shot himself, sources said.
“On the entrepreneurial side, this is one of the biggest losses in hip hop,” said Datwon Thomas, executive editor of VIBE magazine.
“The shock comes because of the way he carried himself,” Thomas added. “He was a strong man. The name of his company is Violator; it’s not a weak name . . . That’s the shock, because of his character.”
Lighty — who was reportedly worth an estimated $30 million — helped launch the careers of several artists, including brokering a multi-million dollar deal for 50 Cent.
Lighty pushed the Queens rapper to sign a deal with Glaceau Energy Brands when they unveiled their new product, Vitamin Water, in 2004.
The “In Da Club” rapper joined the campaign team, appearing in several ads for about three years.
When Coca-Cola bought Glaceau for $4.1 billion, 50 Cent cashed out his 10% stake in the company — which reportedly earned the rapper between $60 million and $100 million.
Rumors swirled recently that the pair had a falling out, but Lighty took to his blog to clear the air.