The music community was in mourning last week when the news of Andre Harrell’s death started to circulate. DJ D-Nice first announced his passing during an Instagram Live session and his passing was later confirmed by the New York Times.
The Uptown Records founder, who was responsible for launching the careers of megastars such as Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mary J. Blige, died on Thursday (May 7) from heart failure at the age of 59.
Although it took a few days for Diddy to gather his thoughts, he finally opened up about losing Harrell via Instagram on Monday (May 11). As part of his post, the Hip Hop mogul shared a video clip of himself thanking Harrell for giving him an opportunity.
“Dre, I’m only standing up here because you gave me a chance,” he says with tears streaming down his face. “But most importantly, what we all have to do, as a black man, you took me underneath your wing and was patient with me and you taught me and you talked to me and you taught me about the game … you believed in me.”
He echoed similar sentiments in the caption, writing, “I honestly still can’t believe it. I’ve got to give myself the reality of this in doses. Because I can’t even handle this. I hope to God that you are all blessed to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you like this man believed in me.
“I’m going to miss him so much. I can’t even imagine life without Dre. God bless @gianni, @onealmcknight and the rest of the family.”
Following Harrell’s death, social media erupted with tributes to the veteran music executive. Russell Simmons, who gave Harrell his start at Rush Management and later at Def Jam Recordings, shared his grief on Instagram and struggled to find the right words.
“Heartbreaking – No words, my best friend, always compassionate, good-hearted, full of love and.. what a beautiful legacy he leaves in this world,” he captioned a photo of himself with Harrell dressed in adidas fits. “All the inspiration, direction and support he gave to so many… So many can say they are successful because Andre Harrell gave them their start.
“He was so beloved because he made his living uplifting others… We celebrate him in his passing because we were so blessed for his presence… He gave everything he had. God makes the best plans R.I.P @andreharrell.”