Legendary, controversial music manager Jerry Heller died at the age of 75 on Friday, September 2 after suffering a heart attack, his cousin confirmed. May he rest in peace.
There are conflicting reports about Jerry Heller‘s death at this time. Jerry’s cousin Gary Ballen confirmed his death to Billboard, stating that the former N.W.A manager and Ruthless Records co-founder had died of a heart attack at the Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, California.
However, TMZ has reported that Jerry was driving in Ventura County, around noon PST, when he suffered a “medical emergency.” He allegedly lost control of his car and slammed into a mini-van, and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. It’s unclear if the medical emergency was the heart attack that Gary confirmed caused his death.
Jerry was a force to be reckoned with in the music industry, first working as an agent and promoter to help foster the careers of acts like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Marvin Gaye, the Who, Black Sabbath, Journey and Pink Floyd. Jerry helped bring West Coast rap into prominence in the 1980s with the help of Eazy-E, with whom he co-founded Ruthless Records.
He partnered with N.W.A, managing the band for four years, as they released their triple-platinum record Straight Outta Compton in 1988. They parted ways in 1991 after Ice Cube and Dr. Dre accused him of not paying them properly. Ice wrote the scathing diss track “No Vaseline” about him, though neither rapper sued. He was never convicted of any wrongdoing.
He was mired in controversy to this day, though. Jerry was intensely upset about his depiction in the film Straight Outta Compton. He filed a defamation lawsuit, claiming his depiction was unfair, and also argued that he wasn’t compensated for his likeness. The suit was thrown out of court.
This story is still developing; we will keep you updated.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Jerry’s loved ones during this difficult time.