Music executive Andre Harrell, best known as the founder of Uptown Records, has died at the age of 59. A cause of death has not been identified.

Harrell began his career as an artist one-half of the early rap duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. He would later go on to work at Def Jam Records as vice president and later GM of the label. He left Def Jam and started his own record company, Uptown Records, in 1986. Uptown Records would play a key role in developing the popular “New Jack Swing” sound. Harrell would be responsible for the signing of several prominent artist in the late 80’s and 90’s, including Teddy Riley, Heavy D, Jodeci, Al B. Sure, and Mary J. Blige. He would also give another future mogul, Sean “Diddy” Combs, his start.

Harrell would also venture into the world of television and film, bringing urban culture to both the small and big screen. Harrell was the man behind the hit series “New York Undercover,” as well as the popular films “Strictly Business” and ” Krush Groove.” After the decline of Uptown Records, Harrell would go on to other roles including CEO of Motown Records and Chairman of Revolt TV. Harrell’s rise to fame was chronicled on “Inside the Label” on BET. A miniseries was also in the works about the famed executive.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Andre’s family and friends.