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Chris Lighty mourned by hip-hop royalty

Hip-hop royalty including LL Cool J and Sean Combs packed a standing-room-only funeral chapel Wednesday to pay their respects to music-industry mogul Chris Lighty.

Mourners at the Manhattan funeral home also included Missy Elliott, Q-Tip, Russell Simmons, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent and Grandmaster Flash.

Lighty, 44, was found dead in his Bronx apartment last week with a gunshot wound to the head. The medical examiner ruled it a suicide.

"Whatever the pressure was that made him take his life had to be tremendous pressure," Grandmaster Flash said outside the chapel. "I just wish that Chris would have reached out and said, 'Flash, I need some help, man.' . . . He didn't reach out. It's really sad."

Mourners filed past the flower-bedecked coffin in which Lighty was laid out in a dark suit. A slideshow depicting his life appeared on a screen. By the time the service started, the chapel had become so crowded that security guards were letting people in only if someone else left.

Lighty had been a part of the hip-hop scene for decades, working with pioneers such as LL Cool J before starting his own management company, Violator. But he was in the midst of a divorce and recently had been having financial and personal troubles.

He was raised by his mother in the Bronx, one of six children. He was a player in the hip-hop game since he was a child disc jockey.

Survivors include his two children. He and his wife, Veronica, had been in the process of divorcing. The case was still listed as active, but electronic records show an agreement to end it was filed in June.

He was also having financial trouble. City National Bank sued Lighty, whose given name was Darrell, in April, saying he had overdrawn his account by $53,584 and refused to pay the balance. The case was still pending.

He also owed more than $330,000 in state and federal taxes, according to legal filings. His tax problems were much steeper a year ago, but he cleared away millions of dollars in earlier Internal Revenue Service liens last October, after selling his Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million.

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