SXSW mourns the loss of cofounder Louis Meyers

Louis Meyers had a vision. That vision was to help local musicians reach their dreams.

His vision helped spawn the birth of South by Southwest and that vision has grown into an international destination for thousands of artists and helping many more.

On Friday Meyers passed away. He was 60 years old. Although saddened, his friends take solace in knowing that his legacy will never be forgotten.

Roland Swenson, a cofounder of SXSW, was a friend of Meyers for over 30 years.

"Everybody was stunned. I mean we found out about it as we were going in to see the president speak," Swenson said. "I heard he was in the hospital but it didn't sound that serious. I called him that morning and got his voicemail and then his brother called me."

Swenson said Meyers died the night before a scheduled procedure to treat blood clots. His death occurred the on the first day of the 30th anniversary of the festival he helped create.

"It's kind of good and bad that it had to happen now, the good part is that so many of his friends from around the world are here in Austin and we're going to be able to get together and mourn him," Swenson said.

Meyers is best known for his role in creating SXSW in 1987. His vision was to help local musicians gain exposure to the mainstream audiences.

Monica Rizzio is one of the many musicians Meyers helped along the way.

"I felt like he was somebody who completely wanted to help people he really believed in."

The Texas folk singer met Meyers in 2009 and said the impact he had on her life will never be forgotten.

"I felt that he was one of a kind. He was the real deal, he was all about the music and he would do whatever he could to help you get there and reach what you wanted to reach in your goals," Rizzio said.

Goals that thousands of more artists will be able to live out thanks to Meyers' vision and passion.

"He loved music, he loved Austin, he helped countless people chase after their dream." Swenson said, "Louis' impact on the city is permanent."

SXSW is planning to hold a memorial for Meyers later this week, an official date has not yet been set.

There is another scheduled memorial in honor of Meyers scheduled for Monday. It will be held at the Strange Brew on Manchaca Rd. from 12 P.M. to 5 P.M.