Andre Harrell, music executive who signed Sean 'Puffy' Combs, dies at 59

Andre Harrell, a veteran music executive best known for signing a young Sean Combs to his first record deal and later went on to head Motown Records, has died. He was 59. The cause of death is as yet unclear.

DJ D Nice revealed the sad news while spinning tonight on Instagram Live. Variety has yet to receive official word though sources have confirmed Harrell’s passing.

A native of New York, Harrell teamed with Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records, and had one of his early experiences in the business working as a vice president and later GM of the label. He left to start his record company, Uptown Records, where he signed Sean “Puffy” Combs. He later attend Mary J. Blige to a deal and saw success with both artists in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

Harrell would later find a home at MCA productions where he developed multiple projects in film and television throughout the 1990s. ,

Harrell returned to the music business full-time in 1995 to run Motown Records as CEO. Through that era, Motown was home such acts as Boyz II Men and Johnny Gill.

Harrell was also the Vice Chairman of Revolt, Combs’ multi-platform music network.

This story is developing.

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