Lou Pearlman, the founder and manager of the extremely popular 1990s boy bands Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, died Friday at a federal correctional institution in Texas. He was 62.
His death was confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but the cause has not been revealed. Pearlman rocketed to fame alongside his acts — the Backstreet Boys sold more than 130 million records and ‘N Sync sold more than 55 million. In 2008, Pearlman was convicted of fraud and bilking investors out of more than $300 million, and he was sentenced to 25 years for running Ponzi and bank schemes. Pearlman’s former lawyer, Mark NeJame, told CNN his client “literally revolutionized the world of pop music and [he was] a creative genius in that regard — but [he] had a horrible dark side that eventually overshadowed his talents.”
On Twitter, Justin Timberlake said he hoped Pearlman “found some peace,” and his former ‘N Sync bandmate Lance Bass tweeted that Pearlman “might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn’t be doing what I love today [without] his influence. RIP Lou.”
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