DJ Rashad’s friends and family mourned the loss of the footwork music pioneer this weekend. Rashad, who was born Rashad Hanif Harden and was 34 at the time of his death, left behind a 9-year-old son, Chad, and his parents, Anthony and Gloria Harden. The DJ’s cause of death remains undetermined following inconclusive results from an autopsy, according to Chicago Sun-Times. The medical examiner is still conducting toxicology studies, though Chicago police believe the DJ died of a drug overdose and found drug paraphernalia near the body.
“Rashad was a kind soul that left an indelible mark on the music world as the torchbearer of Footwork and Juke,” his manager Wes Harden said in a statement. “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.”
“I’ve only known him for around three years, but he had become a good friend and one of my biggest musical influences,” commented Kode9, who owns the Hyperdub label that released Rashad’s 2013 album Double Cup. “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.”
“Since he was a kid, he’s been doing this,” Rashad’s father, Anthony Harden, told Chicago Sun-Times. “He knew what he wanted to do, and a lot of us don’t get a chance to make our dream come true.” And regarding his son’s musical impact, he said, “He shared his music with everyone that would listen. He’s been all over the world, taking footwork all over the world. He’s done quite a bit over his short time.”
Rapper Danny Brown said via a tweet that “music lost a legend” and that he will miss Rashad. “My prayers go out to everyone saddened by this tragedy,” he wrote.
Los Angeles–based DJ the Gaslamp Killer reported that he had a hard time making it through his Saturday night set, which he dedicated the evening to Rashad. “Last night I performed for a crowd of over 600 New Yorkers,” he tweeted. “I was in tears half of my set.” In another tweet, he wrote, “Bless you DJ Rashad. Your music and energy will be missed by the entire world. I will play your songs forever.”