Chris Lighty’s death came as a shock to the music industry on Thursday, especially with news that the beloved hip-hop mogul took his own life outside of his Bronx home. Immediate reports pointed to Lighty’s hefty IRS tax debt and divorce troubles as possible reasons for the suicide, but his wife is dismissing those rumors.
Veronica Lighty gave an emotional interview to the New York Daily News outside of her home in Riverdale, Bronx on Monday. “My husband was too smart of a man. He was a genius. No smart man is going to leave his children for fighting with his wife,” she said, speaking out for the first time since her husband’s death.
She added that although they often disagreed, their relationship was actually on the mend. “We had a passionate relationship. We fought all the time,” she said, noting that for Father’s Day she backtracked on the divorce. “I had filed for divorce last year, but retracted it. … That was my gift to him.”
As for reports that Lighty owed a hefty sum of money to the IRS, his wife says that the number was false. “We were not in debt $5 million,” she said, only adding, “Chris had a lot of weight on his shoulders.”
According to the Associated Press, Lighty and has family recently sold their apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood for $5.6 million, using the money to pay off some debt and move into a townhouse in Riverdale, Bronx.
Last week, Lighty’s business partner, Michael “Blue” Williams, also brushed off rumors that debt was the reason behind his suicide. “Chris’ debt is probably less important than the pressure that he was under,” Williams told MTV News on Friday. “What people are missing and what people don’t see and what Chris is an example of is how much, as black men, we carry around and don’t always communicate.”
Chris Lighty died at the age of 44, leaving behind six children. The beloved mogul is the founder of Violator Entertainment, and he was responsible for managing a longlist of stars that included 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes and Diddy. Heartbroken artists flooded Twitter with their goodbyes last week.