Chicago-based musician, producer and Footwork pioneer Rashad "DJ Rashad" Harden was found dead of an apparent drug overdose Saturday (April 26). He was 34.
A friend found Rashad's body in an apartment at around 1:30 p.m. local time. Drug paraphernalia was found at the scene, but no signs of injury. The official cause of death will be released pending toxicology reports, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said. An autopsy was performed on the body Sunday. His father, Anthony Harden, said Rashad has a prescription for Xanax.
Rashad passed away two days before his new EP, We On 1, was set to drop. He was billed to perform in Detroit Saturday night alongside friend and collaborator DJ Spin. "Detroit I need ya'll to come out tonight!!!," Spin tweeted amid the news adding, "we can't do nothing but go hard tonight for our brother, @DJRashad #teklifeforever."
Born in Indiana, Rashad released five albums, the most recent being Double Cup last October. He is noted as helping spearhead Chicago's electronic-dance genre. His death comes less than a month after fellow Chicago house music leader Frankie Knuckles.
According to his father, Rashad started out as a DJ at the age of 10 or 11. "Since he was a kid, he's been doing this," he said. "He knew what he wanted to do, and a lot of us don't get a chance to make our dream come true."
The elder Harden said that his son "shared his music with everyone that would listen" and had "done quite a bit over his short time."
Rashad is survived by a 9-year-old son, Chad.
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(Photo: Courtesy Backspin Promotions)