Andre Harrell, the influential music executive and producer who discovered Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and Mary J. Blige, died suddenly at his home in West Hollywood, California on Friday, May 8.
His cause of death was revealed as heart failure.
Photo by WENN
The 59-year-old's death was announced late Friday night by DJ D-Nice during his Club Quarantine series on Instagram Live, and confirmed in a short video posted on the account for Combs's multi-platform music network Revolt TV, where Harrell served as vice-chairman.
Harrell is pictured with his son, Gianni Credle-Harrell, 25, in a photo dated Feb. 17, 2018. The legendary music executive, who was born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, New York, is best known for founding Uptown Records, which became one of the most influential and successful hip-hop and R&B labels during the 1990s.
Mary J Blige was the first female R&B singer signed to Uptown Records. Uptown Records was responsible for the success of stars including Notorious BIG, Jodeci, Guy, and Heavy D and the Boyz.
Harrell was part of the 1980s hip-hop duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde alongside Alonzo "Mr. Hyde" Brown. The group was known for its corporate business image and wearing designer suits and ties onstage.
Photo by POPWENN
Harrell, pictured left with Sean "Puffy" Combs (center) and Jay-Z, served as CEO of Motown Records from 1995 until 1997. Through a multimedia deal with MCA Music Entertainment Group, Harrell developed film and television productions, including the movie Strictly Business and FOX's hit police drama series, New York Undercover, which aired from 1994 until 1998.
Uptown also introduced the sub-genre of New Jack Swing, after signing super-producer Teddy Riley of Guy and Blackstreet fame.
Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
Harrell (front row, 2nd from left) was on hand to celebrate with Riley (in red cap) at his Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony on Aug. 16, 2019.
The "No Diggity" hitmaker led the emotional tributes to Harrell, who he last spoke to before his recent Instagram Live showdown with fellow producer Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds.
"We've lost one of the greatest mentors in my life," Riley said in a post on the site.
"I'm so happy I got to tell you one hour before the versus Battle, how much I respect and love you, as my big brother and mentor! The pep talk that you've given me right before, felt like the same pep talks that you've given me the beginning of Uptown Records, sleeping on the couch at your office (Brownstone) in BK. You chose me out of all the kids that you could have picked to work with you. I will never forget, all of these cherished moments and I will never forget you!!! I salute you... King of New Jack Swing."
Oscar-winner Viola Davis also honored Harrell, tweeting, "Thank you for the gift of so many incredible artists. Gone too soon."