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DJ Rashad, a pioneering producer and fixture of the House and Footwork music scenes in Chicago, has died. He was discovered unresponsive by a friend Saturday (April 26) afternoon on the city’s West Side.

Born Rashad Harden, DJ Rashad was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:30 p.m. in what is suspected to be a drug overdose according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times. DJ Godfather, who was slated to performed with DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn in Detroit that evening, tweeted in speculation before the news was officially confirmed.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Harden was 34 and had a new EP — “We On 1” — set to be released on Monday and was on the cusp of what was expected to be a career breakout this year: With a fifth album that was his best reviewed of his career behind him, he was scheduled to play club dates all over the world.

He was found unresponsive by a friend around 1:30 p.m. Saturday in an apartment in the 2100 block of West 21st Street and pronounced dead shortly after. An autopsy is scheduled Sunday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Rashad’s father, Anthony Harden, said his son had a prescription for Xanax.

DJ Rashad’s place in the Footwork scene, the music that many critics observe as a spinoff of House music, was solidified. The genre has been growing in popularity in Chicago and abroad for much of the last decade, and glimpses of the high-energy dance music once called “Juke” was heard on Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap mixtape on the track, “I’m Good.”

DJ Rashad also opened up for Chance The Rapper during the Social Experiment tour last year.

The Chicago Sun-Times lists DJ Rashad’s age at 34, although other outlets listed 35.

Rest powerfully, DJ Rashad.

Photo: TekLife