R.I.P. Jerry Heller, controversial N.W.A. manager dead at 75

Music industry veteran suffered a heart attack while driving his car

Jerry Heller

Music industry veteran Jerry Heller died Friday at the age of 75.

According to Billboard, Heller suffered a heart attack while driving, causing him to crash his vehicle. He was transported to a local hospital, where he passed away. It’s unclear whether he died from the heart attack, the injuries sustained from the crash, or both.

Heller is perhaps best known as the controversial manager behind N.W.A., who helped guide the Compton rap group to mainstream stardom in the late 1980s. While he enjoyed a close relationship with Eazy-E, Heller frequently clashed with the group’s other members, specifically Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, over financial matters. Following N.W.A.’s dissolution in 1991, Heller continued to managed Eazy-E up until his death in 1995.

In the 2015 N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, Heller was portrayed by Paul Giamatti. Following the film’s release, Heller filed a defamation lawsuit against against Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and the film’s producers, arguing that he was not accurately portrayed.

In addition to N.W.A., Heller worked as an agent and tour promoter for artists such as Marvin Gaye, Kraftwerk, The Who, Pink Floyd, among others.

Update: Ice Cube commented on Heller’s death during an interview with Detroit’s Hot 107.5, saying:

“I didn’t have no emotions, you know. I’m just glad I’m with my brothers today. I’m glad I’m with DJ Yella. I’m glad I’m with MC Ren today, and it’s only right. So, you know, I ain’t gon’ pop no champagne, but I ain’t gon’ shed no tears either. It is what it is, you know. We come here to pass, and he’s outta here, so you know. Like I said, I’m not losing no sleep over that one.”