Sean “Diddy” Combs wrote an emotional tribute to Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell, who died Thursday at age 59.
The Bad Boy Records CEO said he’s devastated that his friend and former mentor is gone.
“I’ve got to give myself the reality of this in doses. Because I can’t even handle this,” Combs wrote on Instagram. “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.”
Harrell started Uptown Records in 1986, and hired Combs as an intern. He moved up to become a talent manager for the label and developed the careers of Mary J. Blige and Jodeci.
Blige posted a clip from a TV interview she did with Harrell on Instagram, and said the late music executive was like a father figure.
“I don’t know where I would be if you didn’t believe in me,” Blige penned. “This can’t be real. Thank you for helping me and loving me until the last days of your life. Rest easy my musical father. I will continue to do my very best to make you proud and continue to find joy and inspiration in your life and legacy.”
BET had been planning a miniseries about Harrell, and he was involved with the project as a producer. Despite his death, the network says the three-part series will move forward.
“With his tragic passing, BET is committed to ensuring that the Uptown limited series event tells both the Uptown story and Andre’s story — that of the incredible music innovator, man and friend to so many,” BET President Scott Mills said in a statement.