NEW YORK – She made her name as a pioneer in New York's punk music scene, co-managing the legendary Ramones in their heyday. Even in her later career as a real estate broker, her clients were rock and roll royalty, including Sting and Billy Joel.
Linda Stein died in her own Fifth Avenue apartment, the victim of a beating that left police with no motive or suspects. An autopsy found that Stein, 62, died from blows to the head and neck, medical examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said Wednesday.
Stein's daughter found her body Tuesday night face-down in the living room of the apartment, located in a doorman building where she lived alone. Police said there were no signs of a break-in or robbery.
"We don't really know what happened," Stein's daughter, Mandy, told The New York Sun. "People are tirelessly working to find out."
Stein was the ex-wife of Seymour Stein, former president of Sire Records, which was the launching pad for the Ramones, Talking Heads and Madonna.
A former schoolteacher, she co-managed the Ramones with Danny Fields during the band's prime. She's credited with bringing the Ramones to England for their infamous July 4, 1976, show, often cited as the start of the punk movement in Britain.
Fields said Stein had the right temperament for the rough and raunchy world of punk.
"She was very tough, but very loving and generous," he said by telephone Wednesday.
Friends and family were stunned by the news she was a victim of violence, Fields said.
"It was enough dealing with her death," he said. "Now it's a murder."
Her friends included such rock luminaries as Elton John, who said in a statement he was "absolutely shocked and upset" by her death, The New York Times reported.
After Stein and Fields parted ways with the Ramones in 1980, she eventually launched a real estate career brokering multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartments for celebrity clients.
Stein "was the 'broker of the stars' and very loyal to our company, a good friend to all, and to me personally," said Dottie Herman, Prudential Douglas Elliman's president and CEO. "This is a terrible tragedy, and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family."
Aside from real estate, Stein's "great joy in life was her first grandchild," a 3-year-old girl, Fields said.
Stein was asked in an interview earlier this year which was harder: managing the Ramones or selling real estate was.
"Real estate," she responded. "Firstly, if you manage a band, every time you hear an encore, every time the audience increases, every time your radio increases, its an upper. With real estate, the only upper is how much you don't owe to Uncle Sam on the check you're getting. There is no high except the money, which is extremely taxable."