Andre Harrell, an innovative music executive who in the late 1980s founded Uptown Records, a crucial bridge between the worlds of hip-hop and R&B, and who gave the first career break to Sean Combs, who became one of hip-hop’s signature moguls and global ambassadors, died late Thursday night at his home in West Hollywood, Calif. He was 59.

His ex-wife, Wendy Credle, said that the cause was heart failure and that Mr. Harrell had had heart problems for some time.

[...] When he founded Uptown Records in 1986, he created a home for artists who melded hip-hop swagger with traditional R&B smoothness, who had sleek surfaces and hard edges. For almost a decade, it was one of the most musically important and financially successful record labels in the country, building the careers of Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Al B. Sure!, Guy and many more. [The New York Times]

Influential hip hop and R&B music mogul Andre Harrell has died of heart failure, The New York Times (quoted above) reports. He was 59.

Harrell was responsible for discovering so much talent (including P. Diddy, who interned at Harrell's label before forming Bad Boy) and his influence as a mogul spanned far and wide. Tributes have been pouring in, from Questlove, Chuck D, LL Cool J, John Legend, Rick Ross, Juicy J, Pete Rock, 50 Cent, Grandmaster Flash, Russell Simmons, Swizz Beatz, DJ Khaled, L.A. Reid, Krayzie Bone, Nelly, and more, as you can read below.