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In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Lighty talked about creating opportunities for his stars _ a Chapstick deal for LL Cool J, known for licking his lips, a vitamin supplement deal for 50 Cent.

“As music sales go down because kids are stealing it off the Internet and trading it and iPod sales continue to rise, you can’t rely on just the income that you would make off of being an artist,” he said at the time.

Lighty is survived by 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 is Darrell, in April, saying he had overdrawn his account by $53,584 and then 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 IRS liens last October, after selling his Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million.

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Associated Press Writers Jennifer Peltz, David B. Caruso and Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report.