UPDATE (May 12): 

Sean "Diddy" Combs has broken his silence on the passing of his mentor and founder of Uptown Records, Andre Harrell. "I honestly still can’t believe it," Diddy wrote in the caption of an Instagram video on Monday (May 11), paying homage to Harrell. "I’ve got to give myself the reality of this in doses. Because I can’t even handle this. I hope to God that you are all blessed to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you like this man believed in me.… I’m going to miss him so much. I can’t even imagine life without Dre."


Andre Harrell, the man responsible for founding Uptown Records and discovering Sean "Diddy" Combs, has passed away at the age of 59.

Details surrounding the passing are currently scarce. Harrell's death was first revealed to the public by D Nice on Friday night (May 8), during one of his Instagram Live DJ sessions and has since been confirmed by singer O'Neal McKnight, a cousin of the music mogul.

According to The New York Times, Harrell's ex-wife, Wendy Credle, said that the cause of death was heart failure. She added that the music exec had been dealing with heart issues for some time.

The Harlem-bred, Bronx, N.Y. native started off in the music industry in the early 1980s, in the hip-hop duo Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde along with Alonzo Brown. Later in the decade, he switched to the executive side of things after he was hired at Def Jam, eventually moving his way up to vice president and general manager of the seminal imprint. He would found Uptown Records in the late 1980s, which would go on to sign artists like Heavy D & The Boyz, The Lost Boyz, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Al B. Sure!, Guy and others. The label is where a young Diddy cut his teeth in the industry as an intern before he formed his own successful label, Bad Boy Entertainment.

After the decline of Uptown, Harrell continued to push the culture forward, moving on to be the CEO of Motown for a stint, as well as having a hand in projects like the TV series New York Undercover (executive producer) and the 1991 film Strictly Business. He also served as President of Bad Boy. In 2013, Harrell was hired as the Vice Chairman of Revolt TV, Puff's latest multi-media platform. Late last year, it was revealed Harrell and BET were working on a multi-episode series on the rise and fall of Uptown Records, which was slated to come out this year.

See the hip-hop community pay its respects to Andre Harrell below.

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