Jerry Heller, former manager of the iconic Compton rap group N.W.A., has died at the age of 75, authorities confirmed Saturday.
Heller died at 10:38 p.m. Friday at the Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, according to Zeb Dunn, medical examiner investigator with the Ventura County coroner's office. Dunn said there was no official cause of death at this time.
Billboard reported that Heller apparently suffered a medical emergency while driving and crashed his car in Ventura County at around noon Friday.
Heller was a successful record promoter who had worked with rock legends such as Elton John, Pink Floyd and Creedence Clearwater Revival when he joined forces with Ruthless Records founder Eazy-E in the 1980s. N.W.A. – which featured Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and MC Ren – hit it big with 1988's "Straight Outta Compton." The album is widely credited with popularizing the "gangsta rap" genre that dominated airwaves in the early 1990s.
The manager later had a falling out with band members over money, although he and Eazy-E remained loyal to each other up until the rapper's death from AIDS in 1995.
Heller was portrayed by Paul Giamatti in last year's popular big-screen biopic "Straight Outta Compton." He objected to the way he was portrayed in that film and filed a defamation suit against the film's producers, part of which is still pending.