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Andre Harrell, a music executive and founder of Uptown Records, has died. He was 59.

DJ D-Nice broke the unfortunate news while spinning on Instagram Live during Nice’s Club Quarantine series.

2006 CFDA Awards - Sean Diddy Combs' After Party - Inside

DJ D-Nice and Andre Harrell at the 2006 CFDA Awards – Sean “Diddy” Combs’ After Party. (Source: Johnny Nunez / Getty)

A Harlem, New York native, Harrell started his music career as a hip-hop artist in the rap duo Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde. Despite early success, his rap career was short-lived, but his career in the music industry was taking off.

After a brief stint working at a radio station, in 1983, he met Russell Simmons and began working for the Def Jam Records founder. Within two years, Harrell became the vice president and later, the general manager of the label. Under Harrell’s leadership, he helped to launch the careers of Run-DMC and LL Cool J.

In 1986, Harrell founded his record label, Uptown Records, where he was instrumental in launching the careers of R&B and rap legends such as Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Jodeci, Heavy D. & The Boyz, Al B. Sure, and Guy. Harrell would also welcome and mentor a young intern, Sean “Diddy” Combs. Their working relationship would span over 30 years.

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Andre Harrell, Mary J. Blige, and Sean “Diddy” Combs. (Source: Rich Polk / Getty)

In 1992, Harrell accepted a multimedia deal with MCA Music Entertainment Group, which involved film and television production. Harrell served as the executive producer for New York Undercover, and several films including Strictly Business and Honey.

Martin Lawrence, Andre Harrell, and Al B. Sure

Martin Lawrence, Andre Harrell, and Al B. Sure. (Source: Lynn Goldsmith / Getty)

In 1995, Harrell became the CEO of Motown Records, where he oversaw the careers of Queen Latifah, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross.

In 2013, Harrell became the Vice Chairman of REVOLT TV & Media, Diddy’s multimedia company.

2015 REVOLT Music Conference - Closing Gala

Sean “Diddy” Combs and Andre Harrell at 2015 REVOLT Music Conference Closing Gala. (Source: John Parra / Getty)

The cause of Harrell’s death is yet unclear. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

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