Jay-Z Successor Reportedly Commits Suicide
Mon, 03 Nov 2008 10:09:46
According to numerous reports, Def Jam's executive vice president, Shakir Stewart, died of an apparent suicide on Saturday, November 1. Stewart was brought to Atlanta's Kennestone Hospital after being found in his bathroom, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 34.
"[Def Jam chairman] LA Reid and all of us at Island Def Jam Music Group are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and colleague Shakir Stewart," an official Def Jam statement said yesterday. "Shakir was an amazing man in every sense of the word. 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 that had the privilege of counting him as a friend. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family at this very difficult time."
Stewart took over Jay-Z's Def Jam position soon after the rapper left the company in June. At the time of his hiring, Stewart said he had found his "dream job" after years of working for LaFace Records and Hitco Music Publishing. Stewart's responsible for signing such artists as Ciara, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy and Beyoncé Knowles, a role far removed from his start as a guy dishing out flyers "seven clubs a night, seven days a week in 20-degree weather." As he explained to Billboard.com this summer, "The hot executive who's 21, 22 years old and has a serious passion for music and the desire to work 27 hours a day. That's where I was at that time in my life. And that's who I'm looking to mentor. I don't see many people like that. Instead, I see a lot of kids who want to live the lifestyle but don't want to put in the work and do what it takes."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff