Def Jam Executive VP Shakir Stewart committed suicide this past Saturday (11/1/08).

Reports say Stewart died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The executive earned his stripes as an A&R at Def Jam Records, signing stars like Young Jeezy and Rick Ross before being promoted to Executive VP at the company earlier this year. Though his promotion came several months after Jay-Z's resignation, Stewart asserted he wasn't the God MC's replacement. Prior to joining the Def Jam family, Stewart also served as an A&R consultant at La Face Records between 2000 to 2004 where he signed Ciara.

Michelle Rivers, Stewart's fiancée, released a statement yesterday (11/02).

"We would like to thank Shakir's friends for the tremendous outpouring of love and support we have received during this difficult time," the statement reads. "It has helped us to cope with our overwhelming grief and sadness. It is difficult to express or explain in words what led to the tragic occurrence on Saturday. Over the past several weeks, Shakir's behavior was inconsistent with the man we all know and love. As much as we all tried to help him, Shakir was in deep pain and largely suffering in silence. Please remember Shakir for who he was ... a wonderful father, partner, son and friend." -Marvin Brandon