N.W.A. Manager Jerry Heller Dead At 75

Jerry Heller

Jerry Heller, the record executive who helped launch the careers of Eazy-E and N.W.A., died Friday (Sept. 2). He was 75 years old.

According to TMZ, he was driving in Ventura County, Calif., when he suffered some sort of medical emergency and slammed into another vehicle and sustained serious injuries. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and died shortly after.

Heller famously partnered with Eazy-Z in the 1980s to help launch the careers of pioneering gangster rap group N.W.A., as well as establish Eazy's Ruthless Records label.

However, Heller's career wasn't without controversy. In later years, members of N.W.A. -- most notably Dr. Dre and Ice Cube -- accused him of screwing them out of money... and left the group.

He was portrayed by actor Paul Giamatti in the N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton.

After the film's release, Heller filed a $110 million defamation lawsuit against its producers, which was pending at the time of his death.

Before N.W.A., Heller worked with a number of huge rock and soul acts throughout the 1960s and '70s, including Elton John, Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and The Who.