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Def Jam’s Shakir Stewart dies at 34

Head of music label died of gunshot wound

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.

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 Beyonce, and Arista Records, where he signed 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.”

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