Shakir Stewart, the 34-year-old executive vice president of Def Jam Recordings, was found about 4 p.m. Saturday in the bathroom of his house on Lindsey Drive in Marietta, said police spokeswoman Cassie Reece. Reese said Stewart shot himself with a handgun but wouldn’t say who discovered him. Stewart was prounounced dead at Kennestone Hospital.
On Sunday (November 2), his fiancée, Michelle Rivers, released a joint statement with the rest of his family.
“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 reads. “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.” (Source)
Last night, Blog Talk Radio hosted a special online show to honor Shakir’s memory. Former college roommates, hometown buddies, and industry friends called into the show to reminisce about their friend and to share memories of “Shake.”
Industry mogul Kenny Burns, Stewart’s friend of 17-years, shared memories of his friend through his sorrow and issued a warning for those who glamorize the music industry and feel that money can buy happiness. Burns could barely hold back his emotions as he also discussed providing for the children left behind:
“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.”
“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.”