Jerry Heller, N.W.A’s former manager and a music industry legend died. The 75-year-old had a heart attack on Friday evening, Sept. 2, 2016, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The devastating news was confirmed by his cousin Gary Ballen who shared chilling details.
Ballen confirmed Heller died after suffering from a heart attack while driving his vehicle. He was taken to Los Robles Hospital, where he died just before 10:30 p.m., a coroner’s official confirmed to TMZ.
Heller paved N.W.A’s way into hip-hop’s golden era. He proudly served as co-founder of Ruthless Records alongside hardcore rapper Eazy-E. The record label was responsible for the success of artists such as J.J. Fad, Michel’le and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Heller had West Coast hip-hop in the palms of his hands with all the superstar talent he was managing during his 20-year stint. It was their time in 1988 to shine and put gangsta rap in motion. N.W.A’s birthed the iconic album Straight Outta Compton bringing a new sound to hip-hop culture.
Although the label fell apart eventually due to irreconcilable differences the legacy Keller and N.W.A has left behind will live on forever.
Heller is survived by a brother and a nephew.