Def Jam's Shakir Stewart dies

Executive had succeeded Jay-Z

NEW YORK -- New York City-based Def Jam Recordings says that the executive that succeeded Jay-Z as the head of the legendary hip hop music label has died.

The company said in a statement that executive vp Shakir Stewart died Saturday. The cause of death could not be confirmed.

Stewart signed such artists as Rick Ross and Young Jeezy to the label before being named in June to the post once filled by Jay-Z. In that role, Stewart oversaw the development of new talent, managed producers and guided the label's vision.

He traveled between Atlanta and New York for his job, and was a graduate of Morehouse College.

Def Jam was founded in the mid-1980s by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin.