Former Motown president/CEO Jheryl Busby died today (Nov. 4) in Malibu, Calif. The Los Angeles native was 59 years old. The cause of death is tentatively accidental death due to drowning; the results of an autopsy will be announced later this week.

Launching his music industry career as a regional rep at Stax Records, Busby advanced to head of West Coast promotion and marketing for the label. In the early '80s he held promotion posts at several labels, including Casablanca, CBS, A&M and Atlantic.

Busby joined MCA Records in 1984 as VP of its black music division, working with a roster that included Patti LaBelle and New Edition. Following a promotion to president of MCA black music, he segued to Motown in 1988 as president/CEO. During his tenure, Busby launched the career of Boyz II Men.

Busby was appointed head of the urban division at DreamWorks Records in 1998. He left that post in 2001. In 2004, he was named president of Def Soul Classics, a division of Def Jam Records. Busby's most recent venture was the establishment of Umbrella Recordings, which released Carl Thomas' 2007 album, "So Much Better," and Patti LaBelle's first gospel album, 2006's "The Gospel According to Patti LaBelle."

Beyond music, Busby -- along with Janet Jackson and Magic Johnson -- was a major shareholder in the nation's first African-American-owned national bank, Founders National Bank of Los Angeles.

He is survived by three children (Ronnesha, LaVonne and Chris), his father Joseph, brother Ronald, sister Cheryl and seven grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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