Jerry Heller, the veteran music manager who helped launch the music group N.W.A, has died. He was 75.
His cousin, Gary Ballen, confirmed to Billboard that Heller died of a heart attack on Friday.
Heller was born in Ohio, and following his service in the U.S. Army, he would go on to attend University of Southern California.
In the ’60s and ’70s he represented Marvin Gaye, and promoted the first U.S. tours for Pink Floyd, Elton John and Kraftwerk. He eventually start the Heller-Fischel Agency, which would represent rock stars like The Who and Black Sabbath as well as Carly Simon, Van Morrison and Cat Stevens.
In the mid-80s he started representing rap musicians, co-founding Ruthless Records with Eazy-E, and managing acts in the L.A. hip-hop scene.
Paul Giamatti portrayed Heller in the 2015 N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton.” In October 2015 Heller filed a defamation lawsuit against the film’s producers, who included Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Heller claimed that the film was “littered with false statements” that intended to smear his reputation. The producers countersued and almost all parts of Heller’s original suit were dropped.
His memoir, which he wrote with Gil Reavill, was published in 2006 titled “Ruthless: A Memoir.” N.W.A was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.
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