News: Update: Def Jam Exec Shakir Stewart's Suicide Confirmed
Saturday, Nov 1, 2008 8:39PM
[Editor's Note: This story has been updated as more information has become available]
SOHH has learned that Shakir Stewart - the record label big hired as executive vice president of Def Jam Recordings after Jay-Z's departure - was found dead today (November 1) of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Stewart's fiance, Michelle Rivers, released a statement on behalf of his friends and family of the music executive's unfortunate and untimely passing. "Over the past several weeks, Shakir's behavior was inconsistent with the man we all know and love," it read. "As much as we all tried to help him, Shakir was in deep pain and largely suffering in silence."
"Shakir was an amazing man, in every sense of the word," Def Jam wrote in their statement. "A truly incredible friend and father who was an inspiration to not only our artists and employees, but to his family and the many people who had the privilege of counting him as a friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family at this very difficult time."
Stewart, a native of Oakland, CA, graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta before becoming a successful music publisher at Hitco publishing where he signed Ciara and Beyonce.
He was later hired by Def Jam in 2004, holding the position of VP of A&R before being promoted to executive vice president of Island Def Jam shortly after Jay-Z's departure in December '07.
He is credited with signing big name acts such as Rick Ross and Young Jeezy.
SOHH spoke with Stewart back in June about his new position at Def Jam.
"I'm up for the task," he said. "I'm up for the challenge of it. I'm not caught up in, 'I'm replacing Jay-Z.' I'm here to deliver and work for my artists and build and expand on the brand. That's my goal."
"Jay-Z's shoes would be hard to fill in any fashion," he added. "So, my focus is really to come in and do my job and help build and create my legacy as well expand the legacy that's already there."
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