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Tony Martell, Music Executive and Founder of the T.J. Martell Foundation, Dies at 90

Senior music executive Tony Martell, who created the T.J. Martell Foundation to benefit leukemia, cancer, and AIDs research, died Sunday. He was 90.

The music industry vet died at his home in Madison, New Jersey.

Martell worked in the music business from the 1960s through the ’90s, holding roles including A&R director, record label vice president, and record label head. He worked extensively with CBS Records, which is now Sony Music Entertainment, and its subsidiaries, and helped direct the careers of such artists as the Isley Brothers and the O’Jays. Over the decades, Martell’s work spanned several genres, including rock, jazz, pop, soul, heavy metal, and blues.

The executive created the T.J. Martell Foundation in 1975 after his son, T.J., died of leukemia at the age of 19. It would go on to become the music industry’s biggest foundation for leukemia, cancer, and AIDs research, and has raised more than $270 million for its cause, according to the organization’s website.

Martell’s wife, Vicky Martell, who worked side-by-side with him in the T.J. Martell Foundation, died in February at the age of 88. The two were married for more than 65 years.

Memorial plans are set to be announced soon. Martell is survived by his daughter, Debbie Martell.

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