Beloved Chicago house music DJ and footwork pioneer Rashad Harden, better known as DJ Rashad, was found dead in his apartment Sunday after what police believe was a drug overdose, the Associated Press reports.
He was 34.
Chicago police spokeswoman Janel Sedevic told AP that a friend found Harden’s body in his home on the city’s West Side and that narcotics and drug paraphernalia were found near his body. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy Sunday, and while the results of the toxicology test were not available, there was no sign of injury on Harden’s body, AP reports.
Harden’s death comes days before his new record, We On 1, was scheduled for release and less than a month after fellow Chicago house music star Frankie Knuckles died.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Harden, was set to have a breakout year as he was booked to play clubs all over the world and his We On 1 was to be released Monday. Last year, Harden released Double Cup, which is credited with attracting a wider audience to footwork music.
“It’s just a tragic loss of a great musical genius,” longtime friend and collaborator Morris Harper told AP. Harper who performs under the moniker DJ Spinn was scheduled to perform with Harden in Detroit on Saturday night.
Harden was considered a pioneer of footwork—an electronic-oriented music genre that has roots in house music and originated in Chicago. Footwork is named after the quick footwork of the dance inspired by the music, which is characterized by a frenzied mix of rap, R&B and pop.
“He shared his music with everyone that would listen,” Harden’s father, Anthony Harden, told the Sun-Times. “He’s been all over the world, taking footwork all over the world.”
Read more at the Associated Press.