Industry veteran Steve Pritchitt died Sunday (May 6) at his home in Los Angeles. Pritchitt had battled cancer much of the best year. His age was unknown at press time.

Pritchitt was most recently the executive VP/GM of Fontana Distribution, the conduit for independently distributed product from within the Universal system and from third-party indie labels. Pritchitt was the first employee hired to Fontana in late 2004 and was charged with building the indie division.

A memo from UMGD head Jim Urie was widely circulated Monday afternoon. Urie wrote, "Steve spent his life in the music business and was a fan, manager, publisher, international record executive and finally, the heart and soul of Fontana. As it's first employee, Steve built Fontana from scratch, one label and one employee at a time. His vision of building a different kind of independent distribution company has been and will continue to be the Fontana credo."

Prior to joining Fontana, Pritchitt had been the senior VP/GM of Navarre Entertainment Media. He was hired by the former in 2000, and spent four years with the New Hope, Minn.-based company.

Urie's memo notes that Pritchitt is survived by his wife, Tina, and his mother, Jean, who still resides in Pritchitt's hometown in England.