Shakir Stewart (PR Newswire Photo)
ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) - The executive who succeeded Jay-Z as the head of hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Atlanta, police said Sunday.
Executive vice president Shakir Stewart, 34, died on Saturday, his New York-based label said in a statement.
Stewart was found Saturday afternoon in the bathroom of his home in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Cobb County police spokeswoman Cassie Reece said Sunday. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Police described the shooting as self-inflicted and would not say who discovered Stewart.
The record label issued a statement Sunday on behalf of Stewart's fiancee, Michelle Rivers, and his family.
"Over the past several weeks, Shakir's behavior was inconsistent with the man we all know and love," the statement said. "As much as we all tried to help him, Shakir was in deep pain and largely suffering in silence."
Stewart signed such artists as Rick Ross and Young Jeezy to the label before being named in June to the post once filled by Jay-Z.
The Oakland, Calif., native came to Atlanta to attend Morehouse College, where he graduated in 1996, his label said in an announcement for his promotion in June.
He previously worked with the Hitco publishing company, where he signed R&B star Beyonce, and Arista Records, where he signed R&B star Ciara.
Christopher Hicks, a friend of 18 years and fellow music executive, last spoke with Stewart about a week ago.
"Whatever happened over the past 24 hours is not a testament to who we all know," Hicks told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. "He was a one-of-a-kind individual. If you looked on his Blackberry (stamp) it said 'One of one."'
Def Jam called Stewart "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."
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press