Rob Stone, Co-Founder of The Fader, Dies at 55

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Rob Stone, who co-founded Cornerstone Agency and The Fader, died yesterday (June 24), his family and co-CEO Jon Cohen wrote on social media. Stone had been living with cancer, but kept the diagnosis private, his family said. He was 55 years old.

Stone launched the marketing agency Cornerstone with Steve Rifkind in 1996, before Stone’s childhood friend Jon Cohen stepped in the following year, Variety notes. Their hip-hop-inspired approach to marketing proved influential, laying the foundations for their dedicated music outlet, The Fader, which launched in 1999 with a Funkmaster Flex cover story. Having intended to make a trade magazine for DJs, Stone and Cohen eventually set out to champion new artists across genres and to bridge the stratified rap and indie-rock worlds, a mission exemplified in the third issue’s cover story pairing Beck and D’Angelo in conversation. The Fader continued to grow in its native New York and globally, with branches including the Fader Label imprint, Fader Fort events, and Fader Films.

Jon Cohen wrote on social media, “I will love you forever Rob Stone. Our partnership was incredible. The things we accomplished together we could have never dreamed of doing when we were 15. Yes we did want to kill each other at times but the love and respect we had in building our company for 28 years was special. But way bigger than our success was our friendship. There is no one I loved having at my side more than you. We experienced so much together. I will tell your story and our stories together for the rest of my life. There are so many incredible ones. Thank you for all that you taught me. Thank you for always having my back and thank you for always making me laugh. I will think of you at every Knick game, I will feel your presence every time I hear a Biggie song and laugh with you during every ridiculous NY Jet loss.”

Stone’s family wrote, “Rob bravely fought cancer over the past year. He chose to keep his diagnosis private in order to focus on his family. He was a truly amazing person who lived an incredible life.”