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Lou Pearlman, Creator Of NSYNC And Backstreet Boys, Dies In Federal Prison

Lou Pearlman was credited with single-handedly creating a boy-band craze, but ended up declaring bankruptcy and in federal prison after being convicted of a $300-million Ponzi scheme.

Last updated on August 21, 2016, at 7:02 p.m. ET

Posted on August 21, 2016, at 1:05 a.m. ET

Lou Pearlman poses with NSYNC in 1996.
Mark Weiss / WireImage / Getty Images

Lou Pearlman poses with NSYNC in 1996.

Lou Pearlman, the promoter credited with single-handedly launching the boy-band craze of the late '90s and early 2000s, died Friday in a federal prison.

His cause of death was not immediately clear.

Pearlman launched a boy-band empire with internationally famous groups including Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.

But Pearlman's meteoric rise ended in 2006 when he was accused of running a $300 million Ponzi scheme, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He declared bankruptcy in 2007, and he was convicted of fraud in 2008.

John Raoux / AP

He faced several lawsuits after the Ponzi scheme was uncovered, including one filed by the Backstreet Boys, according to Fox News.

He was serving a 25-year sentence in federal prison when he died Friday, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons inmate database. He was 62.

Pearlman also managed other popular acts, such as O-Town and Chippendales.

Former NSYNC member Lance Bass tweeted Saturday about Pearlman's death, nothing that the 62-year-old might not have been "a stand up businessman," but that Bass "wouldn't be doing what I love today [without] his influence."

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Word is that #LouPearlman has passed away. He might not have been a stand up businessman , but I (cont) https://t.co/nsczUEVOOQ

Justin Timberlake, another former NSYNC member, wrote that he hoped Pearlman "found some peace."

I hope he found some peace. God bless and RIP, Lou Pearlman.

NSYNC member Chris Kirkpatrick added that Pearlman's death left him with mixed emotions.

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Mixed emotions right now, but RIP Lou Pearlman.

The Backstreet Boys' Howie Dorough wrote that he would always be grateful for the opportunity Pearlman had given him and other band members.

Saddens me to hear the news of Lou's death. Condolences go out to his family. Will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave to us.

Fellow Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean said without Pearlman, he wouldn't have met the bandmates who became his brothers.

Many emotions at the news of Lou's passing. Without Lou I wouldn't have met my four brothers or had the opportunity of a lifetime. RIP.


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