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UPDATE: Details of Shakir Stewart’s Suicide Emerge November 3, 2008

Filed under: General News — Ryann Hayman @ 11:50 am
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Stewart’s family releases statement. Long-time friends Kenny Burns and Ian Burke baffled over executive’s demise.

Me and Shake, we’re men’s men. We had kids, we’re responsible fathers. And the man that I know wouldn’t take his life. That man was strong, it ain’t no street pressure, music business, L.A. Reid, these fake ass artists…that ain’t gon’ tear nobody like Shake down. It’s just something that I can’t see, nor accept. We wouldn’t do that.

More details into the recent tragic death of Def Jam Record’s Vice-President, Shakir Stewart, have emerged. On Sunday, Stewart’s family released a statement about the executive’s death.

 “We would like to thank Shakir’s friends for the tremendous outpouring of love and support we have received during this difficult time,” the statement from Stewart’s fiancée, Michelle Rivers, and family read.

“It has helped us to cope with our overwhelming grief and sadness. It is difficult to express or explain in words what led to the tragic occurrence on Saturday. Over the past several weeks, Shakir’s behavior was inconsistent with the man we all know and love. As much as we all tried to help him, Shakir was in deep pain and largely suffering in silence. Please remember Shakir for who he was … a wonderful father, partner, son and friend.” 

According to Georgia’s Cobb County police, 34-year-old Stewart— who died Saturday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, reportedly shot himself with a handgun in the bathroom of his house on Lindsey Drive in Marietta, Georgia. Stewart was pronounced dead at Kennestone Hospital later that day. 

“Whatever happened over the past 24 hours is not a testament to who we all know,” Christopher Hicks, a music executive and longtime friend of Stewart, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. 

Police have not confirmed who found Stewart’s body, or any motives leading up to the suicide. 

Stewart is best known for signing rappers Young Jeezy and Rick Ross to Def Jam Records. On June 3, Stewart was promoted to VP of Def Jam, where he reported directly to his mentor, Island Def Jam’s chairman, Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

On Sunday night, Blog Talk Radio hosted a special online show called, “Celebrate Shakir ‘Shake’ Stewart.” Former college roommates, hometown buddies, and industry friends called in to share memories of Stewart. Many were left confused over Stewart’s exit. 

“It had to be something very very bad for him to even think about doing something of this nature,” Atlanta record executive Ian Burke, said. “And whatever it was, I guess it was something that… I guess he felt, at the time, he couldn’t turn back from.” 

Industry mogul Kenny Burns, Stewart’s friend of 17-years, recalled how he and Stewart dreamed of making it big in the industry.

“From that time and period, all of us were looking for something. The business was starting to bubble and we were all blessed to be there early. Looking back, we were like,  ‘Aww shit, we need to get in that, the women, the girls’… But it just became more important to make a mark and build a legacy.” 

Burns, clearly shaken, says he doesn’t believe Stewart killed himself. 

“Me and Shake, we’re men’s men. We had kids, we’re responsible fathers. And the man that I know wouldn’t take his life. That man was strong, it ain’t no street pressure, music business, L.A. Reid, these fake ass artists…that ain’t gon’ tear nobody like Shake down. It’s just something that I can’t see, nor accept. We wouldn’t do that.

“Like, [Stewart] wouldn’t leave his kids without insurance like that. We tried to rush to the hospital before they rushed him to the morgue yesterday…” Burns says, before breaking down in tears on the phone.

“I want to say something about this fake ass business that these young’ns are enthralled with: this business is not that. Educate these people. Money does not make you happy. I don’t believe he took his life. But it’s because of this fake ass business, and these niggas and bitches,” Burns said. “I’m personally setting up a college fund for his kids.”

For more on Shakir Stewart, go here. Stay tuned to ontherecordmagazine.com for further details regarding this tragedy. 

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