DJ Rashad Dead: Footwork Icon Found Unresponsive in Chicago

Dance-music leader fell to suspected overdose; an autopsy is scheduled for Sunday

Dj Rashad
Courtesy Backspin Promotions
DJ Rashad was found dead in Chicago at age 35.
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UPDATE: NBC Chicago reports that DJ Rashad died of a drug overdose, with heroin, cocaine and alprazolam found in his body upon his death.

DJ Rashad, a leading producer in Chicago’s footwork scene, died Saturday afternoon, according to Chicago police. Per the Chicago Sun-Times, Rashad was found unresponsive by a friend on the city’s West Side at 1:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene of a suspected drug overdose. He was 35.

News of Rashad’s death was first announced on Twitter by DJ Godfather, who was scheduled to perform in Detroit tonight along with Rashad and DJ Spinn. His passing was later confirmed by a number of people close to him, including DJ J-Cush, whose label Lit City Trax released Rashad’s Teklife Volume 1: Welcome to the Chi LP in 2012, and Chance the Rapper, who toured with Rashad late last year. A spokesperson for Hyperdub Records said a formal statement will be released Monday.

Born Rashad Harden, the producer and DJ was a global ambassador for footwork, a frenzied and hypnotic style of dance music that features heart-racing BPMs and, often, chopped-up loops of popular rap, R&B and pop vocals. Rashad’s most recent album Double Cup was released last October by the influential British label Hyperdub, and he has an EP, We On 1, scheduled to come out on vinyl on April 28th via Southern Belle Recordings.

The death will be especially painful for the Chicago dance music community at large, which is still coming to terms with the loss of house pioneer Frankie Knuckles, who passed away on March 31st.

The Sun-Times reports an autopsy has been scheduled for Sunday.

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