When it comes to horrible timing, this one takes the cake. It has now been confirmed that the co-founder of SXSW, Louis Jay Meyers, has died aged 60 just as the festival was kicking off its 30th edition.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Meyers was admitted to St. David’s South Austin Medical Centre on March 10th, and died as a result of a heart attack on March 11th. Meyers reportedly had plans to attend the Obama keynote, which is the first time in the festival’s history that a US president has been a featured speaker at SXSW
Unfortunately, Meyers couldn’t attend as a result of the hospital admission the day before.
Meyers founded SXSW in 1987 alongside Nick Barbaro, Roland Swenson, and Louis Black. Seven years after launch, Meyers took a step back and sold his stake in the festival as he felt ”burned out”. However, according to reports, he made the effort to attend the festivals each year despite no longer being directly involved with the event.
Since the news broke, Meyers’ Facebook page has been flooded with messages of condolences. A memorial event is happening on Monday (March 14th) at the Strange Brew Lounge Side to celebrate his life, which will be followed by a tribute showcase at Threadgills on March 16th.
(Image by Fredrik Welander, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))