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Andre Harrell, founder of Uptown Records, dies at 59

Andre Harrell
Posted at 1:55 PM, May 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 21:19:52-04

NEW YORK — Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell has died. He was 59.

Harrell helped shape the sound of hip-hop and R&B in the late 1980s and ’90s with such acts as Mary J. Blige and Heavy D. He also launched the career of mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Diddy’s REVOLT company, where Harrell was vice chairman, confirmed the death Saturday.

Harrell launched his New York City-based label in 1986 and first found success with debut albums from Heavy D & the Boyz, Al B. Sure! and Guy, the R&B trio.

Musicians and celebrities posted tributes to the late music executive on Twitter Saturday.

"Why Andre ... My heart is breaking and I can't stop crying. He was an amazing friend and I will miss him forever," Mariah Carey said.

"RIP Andre Harrell. Whether we knew it or not, he had such a huge influence on the R&B/hip-hop my generation grew up loving. He signed and mentored so many great artists, made so much great music happen, helped shape the culture," singer-songwriter John Legend said.

"RIP Andre Harrell...thank you for the gift of so many incredible artists. Gone too soon," actress Viola Davis said.

"One of the most brilliant leader that the Culture has ever produced. We will all miss Andre Harrell more then we can measure," rapper and actor Ice Cube said.