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Chicago House Music And Footwork Icon DJ Rashad Has Died

The dance music legend was found unresponsive in an apartment on Saturday, Chicago police confirmed to BuzzFeed. Updated: An autopsy conducted Sunday was inconclusive.

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Chicago house music producer and footwork icon Rashad Harden was found dead Saturday afternoon on Chicago's South Side.

DJ Rashad/promotional photo / Via Facebook: 152577002604

Rashad, 34, was found unresponsive in an apartment at 1:30 p.m., and was pronounced dead shortly after, the Chicago Police Department told BuzzFeed. Drugs and drug paraphernalia were found near his body, and police suspect a drug overdose. There were no visible signs of injury, and an autopsy is scheduled for Sunday.

Update — April 28, 10:11 a.m.:

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that an autopsy conducted Sunday proved inconclusive. Toxicology studies, which can take weeks, are being conducted to determine the cause of Rashad's death.

Update — May 1, 12:42 p.m.:

The cause of DJ Rashad's death was a blood clot, The Guardian reports. Rashad's cousin told his label, Hyperdub, that a coroner's report determined the clot started in his leg.

A statement was released Monday, April 28, by Rashad's representatives. An excerpt:

Rashad's father told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday: "Since he was a kid, he's been doing this. He knew what he wanted to do, and a lot of us don't get a chance to make our dream come true."

His manager, Wes Harden: "Rashad was a kind soul that left an indelible mark on the music world as the torchbearer of Footwork and Juke. Rest assured that all of those close to him will make sure that the legacy lives on for a great man whose life has been cut far too short."

Kode9 from Hyperdub: "I was honored to release music from Rashad on Hyperdub. I've only known him for around 3 years, but he had become a good friend and one of my biggest musical influences. He was one of the funniest, most positive people I've ever met and a true innovator. Everyone at the label is devastated by his passing and wish to send our sincere condolences to all his friends and family in Chicago, the Teklife crew and anyone anywhere who was graced by his presence and uplifted by his music. I'll never forget singing duet with him in a karaoke bar in Tokyo."


DJ Rashad was set to release his EP We On 1 on Monday, though you can stream it on Soundcloud.

Rashad was known for pioneering footwork in the Chicago house scene, a style of music known for its intense, high-speed tempo, featuring samples of R&B and pop vocals set against experimental beats. Footwork gets its name from the dancers who move their feet at dizzying speeds, performing intricate, complex movements to the music.

Rashad gained a wider audience as he performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival last year.

View this video on YouTube

He had also opened for Chance the Rapper's tour last fall. The young Chicago rapper tweeted his condolences Saturday evening:

Music lost a legend today. And he was my friend. Love you DJ Rashad. RIP

Chance The Rapper@chancetherapper

Music lost a legend today. And he was my friend. Love you DJ Rashad. RIP

08:38 PM - 26 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Listen to DJ Rashad's excellent single from last year, called "Let It Go."

View this video on YouTube