The Swarm

November 03, 2008

UPDATE: Shakir Stewart suicide...

TDS Editors

UPDATE: Latest details…Via Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A close friend was trying to talk to “wigging out” record executive Shakir Stewart moments before he committed suicide Saturday, according to a Cobb County police report.

Stewart, vice president at Island Def Jam Records, is credited with helping to put the Atlanta music scene on the map.

The report says Herb Smith of Dacula said that he had come over to Stewart’s Marietta home at the request of Stewart’s fiance, Michelle Rivers, to talk to him about his change in behavior that concerned his fiance.

Smith told police that he noticed a “behavioral change” in Stewart when he arrived at the house and that Stewart was “wigging out.”

Smith said Stewart began telling him to leave. He told Smith to go “back home to his wife and children,” according to the report, because he did not have to be at Stewart’s house.

When Smith stepped outside the house on Lindsey Drive to call 911, he heard a gunshot from inside the house, the report said. Smith told police that Rivers was in the kitchen at the time of the shooting. Smith found the 34-year-old Stewart on the master bedroom floor.


Atlanta officials have confirmed Def Jam Records executive Shakir Stewart did commit suicide on Saturday [November 1]. Cobb County, Ga. police spokeswoman Cassie Reece said the 34-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was later found in the bathroom of his Marietta, Ga. home. Stewart was pronounced dead at nearby Kenne Hospital.

Stewart’s fiancée, Michelle Rivers, released a joint statement on behalf of his family and friends to thank everyone for their love and support. The statement also reveals that the high-ranking executive was “in deep pain and largely suffering in silence” prior to his death. Stewart’s friends and Def Jam co-workers also released a similar statement.


Stewart succeeded Jay-Z at the top of the Def Jam ladder in June and also retained his duties as senior VP of A&R at Island Def Jam. The Oakland, Calif., native signed such artists as Rick Ross, Young Jeezy and newcomer Karina Pasian.

Stewart cut his teeth as a music executive at Hitco Music Publishing, where he was creative director and later senior VP of creative/GM and signed Beyonce Knowles.

Even before he gained a rep for promoting rap concerts during his Morehouse College days, Stewart was “the guy who was the head of passing out fliers at seven clubs a night, seven days a week in 20-degree weather” ...

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