Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Autopsy Shows Pilot Not High on Drugs or Alcohol

The L.A. County Coroner has just released the autopsy reports on the victims of the crash that took the lives of Kobe and Gigi Bryant, along with 6 other passengers and the pilot.

The documents reveal the obvious for the most part, so we're not going to go into detail. Suffice it to say, the helicopter slammed into a hillside at 184 MPH.

One thing that does stand out ... the autopsy report of the pilot, Ara Zobayan. Toxicology tests were performed and, according to the report, "Toxicological testing did not detect the presence of alcohol or drugs of abuse. Substances tested for include: benzodiazepines, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, marijuana, opioids, phencyclidine, and amphetamines."

Vanessa Bryant and surviving family members of other passengers have sued the pilot and Island Express, which chartered the helicopter. Various pilots have said Zobayan should not have been flying at such a high rate of speed in blinding fog. The toxicology tests show the pilot had all of his faculties, although it remains unclear why he chose to fly that fast.

Carlos Santana Youngest Brother Jorge Dead at 68

Jorge Santana ... the youngest brother of famed guitarist Carlos Santana, and an accomplished musician on his own, has died ... TMZ has learned.

His rep John Regna tells TMZ ... Jorge died of natural causes. Jorge is the youngest of 3 brothers and the second one, after Carlos, to pick up a guitar. Jorge was 14 when he started playing in San Francisco. He'd ultimately join a band in the '60s with some high school friends dubbed The Malibus.

The band's name later was changed in 1970 to Malo ... with help from the band's frontman's mother who'd scream at them "Todos ustedes son malo!" meaning they're awful.

Malo signed with Warner Bros and its self-titled album included the top 20 hit "Suavecito" ... known as the Chicano national anthem played at carne asada kickbacks all over the country. The track was such a huge hit ... Malo would end up performing on "American Bandstand," in 1972.

Malo would produce 3 more albums before breaking up. Jorge had also been playing in a band called The Fania All-Stars, which ended up playing at the classic Yankee Stadium in 1973 in front of more than 63,000 in attendance.

Five years later, Jorge released 2 solo albums titled "Jorge Santana" and in 1979 he dropped "It's all About Love."

He also worked with his famous brother with his management company as a director of artist relations. Jorge toured with Santana but in the '90s and they got together for the 1994 album "Santana Brothers" that included their cousin, Carlos Hernandez.

Not too long ago, Jorge appeared live occasionally with Malo and performed in front of a crowd that immediately reminisced to their high school days in the '70s thanks to "Suavecito."

Jorge was 68. RIP

Melissa Etheridge Son Beckett Cypher Dead at 21 ... From Opioid Addiction

Breaking News

6:08 PM PT -- Melissa says Beckett died due to an opioid addiction.

She says he struggled to overcome his addiction for years and finally succumbed.

Melissa Etheridge is grieving after announcing her son, Beckett Cypher, has died.

The Oscar and Grammy-winning rock star announced Wednesday her son with filmmaker Julie Cypher died. Melissa's team tweeted, "We’re sad to inform you that Melissa’s son Beckett passed away and there will not be a Concerts From Home show today. -- #TeamME."

Melissa had been performing Facebook Live concerts and offering virtual guitar lessons for just $10 during this pandemic quarantine. It's unclear at this time what led to Beckett's death.

Julie and Melissa had to 2 children via artificial insemination during their partnership. Their daughter, Bailey Jean, was born in February 1997, and Beckett in November 1998. For a while, the couple was reluctant to discuss who fathered the kids but they eventually revealed rock singer David Crosby is the biological father of both children.

Cypher -- who was previously married to Lou Diamond Phillips -- and Etheridge ultimately split in September 2000.

Beckett was 21.

RIP

Originally Published -- 3:13 PM PT

'Ink Master' Star Daniel Silva Photos of Fatal Car Crash Scene That Killed YouTuber Corey La Barrie

"Ink Master" star Daniel Silva was stretchered from the scene of the car wreck that killed YouTube star Corey La Barrie -- the accident for which Silva's now facing a murder charge.

Photos of the fatal car accident show an emergency worker rolling Silva -- whose eyes are closed -- away from his black McLaren sports car. The car's hood was up and the windshield was heavily damaged ... especially on the passenger's side.

We broke the story ... the crash happened in L.A. Sunday night when the McLaren somehow managed to hit a street sign and a tree. Silva and La Barrie had attended a party together beforehand to celebrate Corey's birthday, and we're told Silva was seen drinking before getting behind the wheel of the car.

Law enforcement sources say Silva allegedly tried to flee after the accident but was stopped by witnesses. La Barrie, the passenger, suffered significant injuries in the crash and died from them at the hospital.

His cause of death is listed as multiple blunt force injuries sustained in the accident.

Silva did not suffer life-threatening injuries, but we're told he's being treated for a broken hip. As we told you, he was arrested and booked for murder while at the hospital. Along with allegedly drinking before crashing the McLaren, it's believed Silva was traveling at a high rate of speed.

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As for Corey ... his YouTube partner, Crawford Collins, broke his silence Tuesday about the tragedy. They created their channel, Corey & Crawford, in July 2019. They amassed 108,000 subscribers with more than 3.5 million views in their short time making vids together.

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La Barrie had just turned 25 before he was killed in the accident.

Mamba Sports Academy Removed 'Mamba' from Name ... At Kobe Estate's Request

Breaking News

2:14 PM PT -- Okay, some clarity on the move from The Sports Academy ...

Now, the TSA says the decision to remove "Mamba" from the name was a "mutual agreement made in accordance with the wishes of [Kobe's] estate."

TSA doesn't explain why Kobe's estate wanted "Mamba" out of the name -- but it makes a lot more sense.

In other words, if Vanessa asks you to remove the name, you remove the name.

The Mamba Sports Academy says it will honor Kobe Bryant's memory by removing the word "Mamba" from its name forever.

And, if you're confused ... you're not alone.

Kobe partnered up with The Sports Academy (a youth sports training business) in 2018 -- which led to the name change "Mamba Sports Academy."

Kobe was very involved with the Academy -- and was traveling to a MSA facility in Thousand Oaks, CA with his daughter, Gianna, and several other people when their helicopter crashed on January 26.

Now, Sports Academy founder and CEO Chad Faulkner says the company will make significant changes as a tribute to the NBA legend.

"Today, with respect for an unparalleled legacy, the Academy will retire the 'Mamba' in the Mamba Sports Academy name -- to raise it to the rafters, where it belongs," Faulkner said in a statement.

Faulkner expanded on his decision to ESPN's The Undefeated ... saying, "Our beliefs and thoughts are Kobe is one of one. 'Mamba' is one of one."

"And with that as we carry on as The Sports Academy, it's more appropriate to put Kobe in another Hall of Fame, if you will, and to really respect a legacy that is really unrivaled, frankly, and let that live on its own. We will continue to do the work we do."

"We were fortunate to learn from Kobe. We will carry on much of those learnings that we have in a respectful way."

Of course, there is another school of thought that Kobe would want the Academy to use his name because it would help to attract more young athletes ... but clearly Faulkner doesn't feel that way.

The Sports Academy has already changed its website to reflect its new name -- and says it will make changes to signage at its buildings in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach.

Originally published -- 9:50 AM PT

Kobe and Gigi Bryant Helicopter Co. Claims 13-Year-Old Gigi Should Have Known the Risk

Exclusive

We had to read this legal doc several times, because it was so shocking ... Island Express -- the company that owned the helicopter that sent 8 innocent passengers to their death -- claims Kobe AND 13-YEAR-OLD GIGI knew flying could result in an accident and therefore, Vanessa Bryant has no case.

It's true ... Island Express filed an answer to Vanessa's wrongful death lawsuit and, they threw in every argument in the book, including Act of God.

So, here's how it breaks down. Island Express says in its answer, "Kobe Bryant and GB [Gigi] had actual knowledge of all of the circumstances, particular dangers, and an appreciation of the risks involved and the magnitude thereof, and proceeded to encounter a known risk, and voluntarily assumed the risk of the accident, injury ... thereby barring or reducing [Vanessa's] claim for damages."

Island Express never explains how a 13-year-old girl appreciates such risks, and while we're on the subject, did anyone know helicopters are so dangerous that passengers who dare to board do so at their own peril? If that's the case, how come Island Express didn't have a big sign in front of the helicopter?

It gets even crazier. Island Express says it's not responsible for the crash because it was an Act of God. Well, blinding fog is definitely an act of God. Flying into it at 180 MPH is not.

THE SCENE OF THE CRASH
AP

And then, just like the pilot, Island Express blamed the crash on the passengers -- in this case Kobe and Gigi, saying their lawsuit should be thrown out because they were negligent.

And, there's more. Island Express said the accident was the result "of an unavoidable accident." Turning the helicopter around before going into the fog, or going very slow as the pilot ascended or descended might have made it avoidable.

Island Express says helicopter flying is "inherently dangerous" and someone like the pilot should have told them, but it's not the company's responsibility.

'Ink Master' Star Daniel Silva Arrested for Murder ... After Crash Kills YouTuber

Exclusive

6:30 PM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Daniel was arrested and booked for murder. We're told he's still in the hospital.

"Ink Master" star Daniel Silva is about to be booked for murder after cops say he was involved in a car crash that killed YouTuber Corey La Barrie ... who died on his birthday.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... first-responders were called out to the scene of an accident in L.A. Sunday night -- where two men in a McLaren sports car somehow crashed into a street sign and tree while out for a drive. The passenger took the brunt of the hit.

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We're told the driver -- alleged to be Silva -- did not suffer life-threatening injuries in the wreck, but the passenger, La Barrie, did. Both were transported to a hospital, where the YouTube star was later pronounced dead. Our sources say Silva is still being treated for a broken hip, and will either be arrested for murder there or once he's discharged.

As for how this happened ... we're told police were briefed by witnesses at a party that both Silva and La Barrie had attended earlier in the night to celebrate Corey's birthday. Our sources say people told cops Silva was seen drinking earlier that night.

It is believed the McLaren was traveling at a high rate of speed before the crash -- but we don't have any other specifics about what led to the accident.

Both guys are incredibly popular in their own right, with a massive fan base. Daniel's a big hit on 'IM' -- and Corey had hundreds of thousands of followers.

Corey was 25 years old.

RIP

Originally Published -- 9:23 AM PT

Diddy I Can't Handle the Fact Andre's Gone

Diddy is speaking out on the death of his mentor, Andre Harrell, who discovered him decades ago and put him on a trajectory to fame -- and his farewell may well bring a tear to your eye.

The Bad Boy honcho posted a video Monday showing a speech he gave earlier this year after winning an Industry Icon Award at a Pre-Grammys Gala -- where he also called out the lack of diversity in the music biz -- but this time ... he highlighted his words for Andre.

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The remarks are quite moving -- Puffy recounts how Andre took him under his wing, showed him the ins and outs of the game, and simply rolled the dice and took a chance on him. He said he owes a lot of his success to the man -- and made sure he knew it.

Diddy worked as an intern at Harrell's Uptown Records and moved up the ladder to eventually become a talent director, where he was overseeing the development of some big-time stars. Eventually, Diddy and Uptown parted ways ... and the rest is history.

In an accompanying caption, Diddy writes ... "I honestly still can’t believe it. I’ve got to give myself the reality of this in doses. Because I can’t even handle this. I hope to God that you are all blessed to have someone in your life that loves you and believes in you like this man believed in me.… I’m going to miss him so much. I can’t even imagine life without Dre. God bless @gianni, @onealmcknight and the rest of the family."

He finished by saying, "LOVE YOU FOREVER @andreharrell !!!!!!!!!!"

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As we reported ... Andre -- who founded Uptown Records and signed several mega R&B artists to his label back in the late '80s and early '90s -- passed away over the weekend. His family told media outlets that his cause of death was heart failure. He was only 59.

He received countless tributes from all over Hollywood, but it was Diddy people wanted to hear from ... and now, they have.

U.S. Olympic Bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic Dead By Suicide ... At 43

Breaking News

U.S. Olympic bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic died last week after taking his own life ... Team USA announced. He was 43 years old.

"The winter sports community has suffered a tragic loss," USA Bobsled/Skeleton CEO -- and Jovanovic's teammate -- Aron McGuire said in a statement.

"Pavle’s passion and commitment towards bobsled was seen and felt by his teammates, coaches, competitors, and fans of the sport."

Team USA says Jovanovic committed suicide on May 3.

Jovanovic began training as a bobsledder in 1997 and won a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2004. He also competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics, finishing 7th in the 2-man and 4-man events.

Jovanovic was praised as being one of the best brakemen in the sport ... with coach Greg Sand calling him a "one-of-a-kind original."

"If there was ever a bobsledder born to push heavy objects, man it was Pavle."

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts and needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Jerry Stiller Dead at 92 Jason Alexander, Leah Remini React to Sad News

9:22 AM PT -- Jerry's TV son and daughter have just paid tribute to him. Jason Alexander tells TMZ ... "As a kid, I delighted to every occasion I got to see Jerry Stiller and his wife/partner Anne Meara. I watched Jerry on TV, on stage and in clubs. He was always perfection as a comic and a truly gifted actor."

Jason added, "Getting to work with him and know him has been one of the great honors and joys of my life. He was as much a second father to me as any friend could be, the most loving, gentle, kind, humble and generous man. I cherish every moment in his company. Stiller and Meara are together again and heaven is funnier for it. My condolences to Ben and Amy and their families. And finally to my TV dad and dear, dear friend -- serenity now.”

Leah Remini, who played Jerry's TV daughter in the hit show, "King of Queens," said she'll be forever grateful for the memories they created in nearly a decade of working together.

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Jerry Stiller -- the actor/comedian who famously played George Costanza's dad on "Seinfeld" -- has died.

Jerry was one of the most accomplished comedians of his time. Jerry and Anne Meara teamed up together to produce an incredibly popular husband/wife comedy duo, appearing on tons of TV shows. They also produced son Ben Stiller, who said his dad died from natural causes.

As they say ... yada, yada, yada, and then Jerry got a call from the folks over at "Seinfeld" to see if he wanted to play George Costanza's pop, Frank, and thankfully, Jerry said yes.

He was hysterical ... he hated that Jews couldn't really partake in XMAS festivities, so he invented Festivus, which he called "a holiday for the rest of us where you gather your family around and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year."

He actually didn't even appear in a "Seinfeld" episode until Season 5 -- the show went 9 seasons -- and was only on 30 of the 180 shows, but he made an indelible impression, inventing products like bras for men.

Jerry did not sit back and revel in his success after "Seinfeld" wrapped in 1998.  A few months later he was back on TV, this time playing a slightly more subdued version of Frank on "The King of Queens," where he took on the fatherly role of Arthur Spooner.

The show was a huge hit and Jerry was there for all 9 seasons and appeared in nearly 200 episodes. The show's run ended in 2007.

Jerry's acting career spanned more 50 years ... his first TV appearance was way back in 1956, when he played Hugh in "Studio One in Hollywood."

Jerry, of course, also appeared in several movies with Ben ... including "Zoolander," "The Heartbreak Kid," "Heavy Weights" and "Hot Pursuit."

Anne Meara, Jerry's wife of more than 60 years -- died at the age of 85.

Ben also played opposite his mom -- she co-starred with him in the 2006 flick, "Night at the Museum."

Jerry and Anne had 2 kids ... Ben and Amy. She's also an actress who has also appeared in small roles alongside her famous father.

Ben said, "He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for 62 years. He will be greatly missed. Love you Dad."

Jerry was 92.

RIP

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LAST TIME WE SAW HIM ...
TMZ.com

Originally published -- 5:21 AM PT

Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Pilot's Rep Blames Accident on Passengers

Exclusive

The representative of the pilot who was flying the helicopter that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant, along with 6 other passengers, claims the people on board were responsible for the fatal crash.

It's pretty shocking ... the relative of pilot Ara George Zobayan, who also died in the crash, has answered Vanessa Bryant's lawsuit against Ara and the helicopter company, Island Express, saying, "Any injuries or damages to plaintiffs and/or their decedent were directly caused in full or in part by the negligence or fault of plaintiffs and/or their decedent, including their knowing and voluntary encounter with the risks involved, and that this negligence was a substantial factor in causing their purported damages, for which this answering defendant bears no responsibility."

It's shocking because the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies grounded their fleet the morning of the crash due to fog and poor visibility. The pilot had to circle around the Griffith Park area for 15 minutes before being cleared to fly to the Mamba Academy up north.

The pilot was going 184 MPH in blinding fog when he crashed into a hill, killing everyone on board.

The answer to the lawsuit doesn't address how the passengers might have been negligent or assumed a risk. As for negligence ... presumably, they were just sitting in their seats. As for assuming a risk ... it's unclear what risk falls on passengers of an aircraft when the pilot is in control.

Karl-Anthony Towns Remembers His Mom on Mother's Day ... W/ Loving Christmas Texts

Karl-Anthony Towns is honoring his late mother on a holiday dedicated to her and moms everywhere -- this less than a month after she succumbed to coronavirus and passed away.

The Minnesota Timberwolves star posted a touching tribute on social media Sunday, showing off a screenshot of an old text exchange he had with his mom, Jacqueline Towns, during Christmas last year ... where they shared some loving words between each other.

At the time, she wrote to her boy ... "My Son it seemed like I closed my eyes for just a moment and suddenly a man stood where a boy used to be, I (may) not carry you in my arms anymore but I always carry you in my heart. You are the sweetest present life has ever given me." KAT responded, "Love you mom Merry Christmas!"

Jacqueline then sent Karl a photo of herself in a Santa sweater. KAT wrote of the interaction on Sunday, "Miss you so much," while adding an animated heart with an arrow through it.

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A PLEA TO THE PEOPLE

Karl's mother passed away last month after a long battle with coronavirus -- which she contracted around mid-March and later had her placed in a medically-induced coma.

The NBA big man released an emotional video at the time, pleading with people to take the virus seriously while revealing the news that his mother had been hospitalized because of it.

Singer Betty Wright Dead at 66 Cancer Diagnosis in the Fall

Breaking News

11:25 AM PT -- Steve Greenberg of S-Curve Records says Betty was diagnosed with cancer last fall.

Betty Wright, a supremely talented R&B singer who popularized the phrase, "No pain, no gain," has died.

Wright's cause of death was not announced when her niece confirmed the passing. Something was clearly wrong though because 2 days ago, Chaka Khan made a plea ... "Calling all my #PrayWarriors. My beloved sister, Betty Wright @MsBettyWright, is now in need of all your prayers."

Wright, whom some in the music industry called one of the most underrated singers of her time, was recently honored on TV One's, "Unsung."

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Betty recorded so many songs, including her 1971 hit, "Clean Up Woman. She was only 18 when the song was released, and it turned out to be her biggest song ever. Other hits included "Let Me Be Your Lovermaker," "Shoorah Shoorah," "Tonight is the Night," and "Where is the Love."

Betty made a bold move in the '80s, launching her own independent label ... it had not been done before by a female artist. That's when she recorded "No Pain (No Gain)." Ever heard that phrase? Later she recorded "Mother Wit," and it went gold -- the first time an African-American female singer went gold on her own record label.

Wright became an inspiration to so many singers, including Mary J. Blige, The Roots and Joss Stone. Wright performed with Joss on her song, "The Art of Love and War."

In 2005, her 21-year-old son, Patrick, was shot and killed. She had 4 other children.

Betty was 66.

RIP

Originally Published -- 8:04 AM PT

Little Richard Dead at 87

Little Richard, a giant in the early stages of Rock 'n' Roll and beyond, has died.

Richard had enormous influence over the genre, with insanely popular hits like the fantastically frenetic, "Tutti-Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally." The Beatles have credited Richard as being inspirational to the Fab Four.

Richard's bass guitarist, Charles Glenn, tells TMZ ... Richard had been sick for 2 months. He died at his Tennessee home, surrounded by his brother, sister and son. Glenn says he spoke with Richard March 27 and the singer asked him to come over and visit, but he couldn't because of the pandemic. Glenn says Richard was like a father to him. Richard would sometimes tell him, "Not to take anything away from your dad, but you're my son."

Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932. Ironically, he was born in a depression and died in what feels like a depression.

His dad had disdain for Richard's sexuality and threw him out of the family home when he was just 13.

Richard's music was heavily influenced by the church. He sang gospel and learned the piano at his house of worship.

His first break came in 1951, when he performed at an ATL radio station and it caught the ear of record execs. Richard was signed to RCA. He didn't become successful while at the label, but it was a start.

But then, in 1955, Richard signed with Specialty Records, where he recorded "Tutti-Frutti" which became an immediate hit.

So many hits followed -- "Long Tall Sally," "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Send Me Some Lovin'".

And, Richard tried his hand at movies, appearing in rock films like "Don't Knock the Rock," "The Girl Can't Help It" and "Mister Rock 'n' Roll."

In 1957, Richard shocked the world by quitting the rock biz and became part of the ministry, recording gospel. He recorded an album, "God is Real," in 1959.

He couldn't stay away for long. Richard came back in '64, after The Beatles re-recorded his hit "Long Tall Sally" with great success.

In 1964, following the Beatles’ recording of “Long Tall Sally,” Little Richard plunged back into rock music. Over the ensuing decades, Little Richard would continue to perform and record, but the public response failed to match the enthusiasm that greeted his earlier success.

Although he didn't achieve great success after that, his influence is irrefutable. He was one of the original inductees into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in '93, and got the Pioneer Award from the Rythm & Blues Foundation.

Richard suffered a heart attack in 2013. BTW, he took a baby aspirin and doctors told him that saved his life. He credited his survival to a higher power, saying, "Jesus had something for me. He brought me through."

Richard was 87. RIP.

Music Giant Andre Harrell Dead at 59

Andre Harrell, a legendary music exec who gave Diddy his big break and, among many other accomplishments, ran Motown Records, is dead.

DJ D-Nice broke the news Friday night on Instagram Live. The cause of death is not yet known, but the day before his death Andre posted this ... "Whoever need a ride to 2021 ... we leave tomorrow morning," and ... "Skip the virus and Let's Pick it up again at the top of the year."

Andre's career began as half of the rap duo, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, back in 1981. Andre and Russell Simmons worked together and Andre ultimately became a veep for Def Jam Records.

But by 1986, Andre became restless and wanted a label of his own, and he did just that with Uptown Records. It was enormously successful, with artists like Teddy Riley, Al B. Sure, Heavy D and many others. He signed Mary J. Blige when she was a teenager. And, get this ... his former intern helped jump-start the label ... an intern named Sean "Puffy" Combs, who quickly became an exec for the label.

And, as they say, the rest is history. Combs discovered Notorious B.I.G., but it was short-lived. Combs was fired in '93 and created Bad Boy Records, bringing Biggie along for the ride. But, Andre and Diddy stayed close over the years. Andre was Vice-Chair of Revolt.

Andre made another move in '95, when he became the head of Motown.

But, there's more ... Andre went on to become E.P. of the series, "New York Undercover."

Tributes are pouring in ... Mariah Carey said, "Why Andre ... My heart is breaking and I can't stop crying. He was an amazing friend and I will miss him forever." DJ D-Nice said, "Truly heartbroken. Rest peacefully, Andre Harrell." Viola Davis ... " RIP Andre Harrell ... thank you for the gift of so many incredible artists. Gone too soon." And, Ava DuVernay tweeted, "Saluting Andre Harrell. The architect of so much music, so much culture."

Andre is survived by partner Wendy Credle and a son, Gianni Credle-Harrell.

Andre was 59. RIP.

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