Chris Lighty
Hip-hop mogul and founder of Violator Management has died aged 44 from a suspected suicide Reuters

Rapper 50 Cent has led the tributes following the suspected suicide of his manager Chris Lighty.

Lighty, who had worked with Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J was found dead in his New York apartment with a single bullet to the head.

50 Cent said he was deeply saddened. He described Lighty as 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," the rapper said.

"He is an amazing example of how a passionate kid from the street can go on to be 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."

The 44-year-old Lighty, who has four children, is said to have been going through a difficult divorce as well as having other financial and personal problems.

Police said that there were no signs of forced entry. A 9mm handgun was recovered.

Other stars including Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Diddy reacted with shock and disbelief.

Rihanna said: "Rest peacefully Chris Lighty, my prayers go out to family and loved ones. Dear God please have mercy."

Diddy wrote: "In shock," while Mary J Blige said: "U never know what can send a person over the edge or make them want 2 keep living. Yake it easy on people."

Minaj said: "Another tragic and inconceivable loss for the culture. #RIPChrisLighty."