Published Sep 03, 2016Jerry Heller, the music manager known for helping N.W.A. achieve fame, has passed away. He was 75.
Billboard reports that Heller died of a heart attack yesterday (September 2). TMZ reports that Heller suffered a medical emergency while in his car in Ventura County, CA, and that it's unclear whether Heller died due to the medical injury or the subsequent auto accident.
The Cleveland-born Heller began his career in the music industry way back in the '60s and '70s, when he worked behind the scenes with acts like Pink Floyd, Elton John, the Who, CCR, Black Sabbath, Marvin Gaye and many more.
These days, he's perhaps best known for his role in rap music: he cofounded Ruthless Records with Eazy-E and managed N.W.A., thereby helping Dr. Dre and Ice Cube achieve fame. He clashed with the rappers over financial matters, and he filed a $110 million defamation suit over his unflattering portrayal in the 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. He was played by Paul Giamatti in the film.
Earlier this summer, Heller had most of his Straight Outta Compton suit thrown out of court.
Heller published a book, entitled Ruthless: A Memoir, in 2006.