Industry: Update: Former Motown Head, Jheryl Busby, Dead At 59

Tuesday, Nov 4, 2008 6:02PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Jheryl Busby

[Editors Note: this story has been updated as more information has become available]

While details are still developing, it has been confirmed that former Motown president/CEO Jheryl Busby passed away today (November 4) in his Malibu, California home.

According to the Associated Press, the 59 year-old record label veteran was discovered dead in his hot tub.

"It was a possible accident," Los Angeles County Assistant Coroner Chief Ed Winter told AP. "Or else he died of natural causes."

Busby has had a long successful career in the music business. Known for his expansive track record working with Stax, CBS, A&M and Atlantic, Busby was also VP of MCA Records' black music division in the mid 80s.

In 1988, he became Motown's president/CEO, where he helped launch the career of Boyz II Men.

Shocked by his untimely death, legendary singer Smokey Robinson released a statement to AP speaking on Busby's passing.

"I had tremendous respect for the way he continued the Motown legacy," he wrote. "My condolences to his family at this difficult time."

Busby held positions at other labels including DreamWorks Records and Def Soul Classics. His latest projects were with Umbrella Recordings where he released Carl Thomas' 2007 album So Much Better and LaBelle's first gospel disc, The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle.

Busby also shared stock in the country's first African-American-owned bank, Founders National Bank of Los Angeles along with R&B star Janet Jackson and NBA legend Magic Johnson.

[For more on the R&B scene peep SOHH Soulful]

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