The New York Daily News reports that the memorial service for Chris Lighty, 44 — the founder and chief of Violator Management who killed himself last month after a heated argument with his estranged wife — was a star-studded event where celebs from Russell Simmons to Gayle King remembered the rap mogul fondly.
While it’s accepted that his death was a suicide, Veronica Lighty pushed back against the idea that their fight or his finances were behind it, saying, “We had a passionate relationship … We fought all the time,” and insisting that he’d paid off the $5 million he owed the IRS.
Sean Diddy Combs, Fat Joe, Rev. Run, Missy Elliott, Michael Bivens, Wyclef Jean, Ed Lover — each stopped by the open casket where Lighty was laid out in a black suit.
The mourners also included rappers Lighty had worked with like 50 Cent, singers like Mary J. Blige and Lauryn Hill, celebrities like Gayle King and Nick Cannon, and other rap moguls like Andre Harrell, Lyor Cohen and Mona Scott-Young.
Rapper Busta Rhymes capped his tribute to his longtime friend with a rap.
“You were the light in a lot of lives,” Busta declared at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. “It ain’t no coincidence that your last name was Lighty.”
Russell Simmons credited Lighty with helping “create a cultural revolution” and rapper Q-Tip called him “an honorable man.”
“He grew up to be in so many ways a true leader in our hip hop world,” rapper LL Cool J said. “We didn’t thank him enough. I know I didn’t.”
Lighty’s 17-year-old daughter Tiffany sobbed through the ceremony. Her sister, Deja, said she wasn’t surprised by the turnout.