US music manager Chris Lighty has been found dead at his home in New York. He was 44.
Police told reporters that the incident was being treated as a suicide.
Newspaper articles suggest that Lighty shot himself following a heated exchange with his estranged wife Veronica.
Lighty founded management company Violator, whose stable of stars over the years have included Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and Ja Rule.
Lighty got his break in the music business when he was hired by Rush Management, where he worked under Def Jam founder Russell Simmons and now Warner Music chairman Lyor Cohen.
Simmons wrote in a blog post yesterday: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of a hip-hop hero. Chris Lighty has been a dear friend of mine since he was a kid. Was a brilliant partner in business and I was so proud of all that he had accomplished.
"He is an amazing example of how a passionate kid from the street can go to the most even-keeled, smart, thoughtful manager in the business and a generous philanthropist. He was loved by everyone who knew him, including me. He will be missed greatly by all of us."
Other stars including Ice T, Rihanna and Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun paid tribute on Twitter.