Lou Pearlman, the disgraced music mogul behind boy bands Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, has died in a Texas prison while serving a 25-year sentence on fraud charges.
The 62-year-old died Friday at the Federal Correctional Institution in the city of Texarkana, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. No cause of death was provided.
"Word is that Lou Pearlman has passed away. He might not have been a stand up businessman, but I wouldn't be doing what I love today without his influence," 'N Sync member Lance Bass wrote on Twitter.
"Mixed emotions right now, but RIP Lou Pearlman," bandmate Chris Kirkpatrick tweeted.
Pearlman, who was a blimp operator before becoming a music promoter, was considered the mastermind behind the US boy band craze of the 1990s.
His pop music empire began early in the decade with ads placed in a Florida newspaper seeking young male singers. By the turn of the century he had assembled a roster of superstars out of his Orlando recording complex.
But in 2006 he was revealed to have swindled banks, investors, family and friends in a Ponzi scheme worth 300 million dollars. Pearlman enticed his victims to invest in fictitious companies, winning their confidence by faking strong financial results from a bogus accounting firm.
Pearlman fled the US in January 2007 and was arrested five months later in Indonesia. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2008.