The world of rap and hip-hop suffered a large loss overnight, with reports that entrepreneur and manager Chris Lighty was found dead in his New York home after taking his own life.

News Ltd The 44-year-0ld mogul was a key part of the music scene as manager to Sean “Diddy” Combs, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Busta Ryhmes was found in his Bronx apartment with a gunshot wound to the head and a black .9-mm handgun found next to his body.

No suicide note was discovered at the scene, and Paul Browne, chief spokesman for the New York Police Department said that there were no signs of forced entry and they would wait for results from the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death – but authorities are saying the shooting appears to be self-inflicted.

According to SPIN there have been reports that Lighty owed the government $5million and that he was having an argument with his ex-wife when he allegedly shot himself.

Lighty’s influence is sizeable, beginning his career in the Bronx carrying vinyl for Zulu Nation DJs before becoming involved with the Native Tongues-affiliated outfit The Violators, the group that would later become the name of his own company, Violator Entertainment, in the late 90s.

Before that, he rose through the hip hop ranks with fellow rap mogul Russell Simmons’ Rush Artist Management, the Def Jam founder today telling press, “today, we lost a hip-hop hero and one of its greatest architects.”

Writing a touching tribute on his website, Global Grind, Simmons calls Lighty a “dear friend” and “a brilliant partner in business.” Calling him: “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.”

Artists under Lighty’s Violator roster included the likes of Missy Elliott, Q-Tip, emerging rappers Swizz Beats and Papoose, plus one time Academy Award-winners Three 6 Mafia.

Designed as a record label, management company and entertainment company, Lighty’s mission statement was to turn music stars into all-rounded entertainers – including marketing, movies and sponsorship.

Many members of the R&B, rap and hip-hop community have taken to Twitter with the breaking news of Lighty’s death to pour their condolences. Including Young Money Monster Nicki Minaj (“Another tragic & inconceivable loss for the culture”), Rev. Run of Run DMC (“RIP to the kindest guy”) and fellow hip-hop manager Scooter Braun (“gone too soon”).

Lighty’s own charges also offered tributes, including Diddy (“He was a dear friend of mine and I can’t believe it”) and Swizz Beats (“He was the backbone for many people!”).