Def Jam Vice Pres Shakir Stewart Dead Of Suicide; Def Jam Issues Statement

Def Jam Executive Vice President, Shakir Stewart was found dead today (November 1). While details are being confirmed, sources stated that Shakir died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and his body was found earlier today, in his apartment.

"L.A. 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," Def Jam said in a statement. "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 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 replaced Jay-Z's position at Island Def Jam and was named Executive Vice President of Def Jam Recordings in June of 2008.

Stewart began is career at Def Jam in 2004, as VP of A&R for the legendary label.

As A&R, he signed artists like Young Jeezy, Rick Ross and others.

Prior to working at Def Jam, Stewart worked for Hitco, where he signed Beyonce to a publishing deal and signed Ciara during his tenure at LaFace Records.

Shortly after his promotion to EVP with Def Jam, Stewart said that he was looking forward to signing a new, fresh crop of talent to the storied record label.

“My main thing is to keep supporting the artists that have cultural relevance, a message, a real fan base and that can touch the hearts of men and women,” Stewart told of his vision. “My commitment is to the artists of quality music and talent.”

Most recently, Stewart over saw the release of Young Jeezy’s latest album The Recession, LL Cool J’s Exit 13 and Nas’ untitled album.

“That's an honor for me because these are artists [whose careers] I've watched from day one. I remember buying ‘I Cant Live Without My Radio,’ ‘I Need Love’ and ‘Rock The Bells’ from LL, and Nas' Illmatic when that first came out. To be able to be a part of their careers now and work hand in hand with them in creating their albums now…this is [probably] Nas' most anticipated and controversial album ever…I'm for keeping the brand culturally relevant globally, coming in and being a part [from any standpoint] with a company that's had this type of history, recognition and respect is a huge honor and a challenge. I'm up to it, I'm a fan of the music and artists and I'm just passionate about it so I'm just ready to go.”