Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney and More Mourn the Death of ACM Executive Lisa Lee
Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and Reba McEntire are just a few of the many within the country music community mourning the loss of Academy of Country Music executive Lisa Lee, who died Saturday (Aug. 21) after a valiant battle with brain cancer.
She was just 52 years old.
"Lisa Lee and I grew up together in this business," Chesney remarks in an Instagram post on Sunday alongside a photo of him and Lee during happier times.
"She was a TV reporter, producer, writer and big executive. She covered my heroes and my friends, she wrote about me and my mother," he says. "She truly cared about country music — and I absolutely cared about her."
“Lisa has always been a light inside our industry,” Luke Bryan echoes in an ACM press release issued Monday (Aug. 23). "Her ability for telling not only my story, but the story of so many was unmatched because it was from her heart. She truly loved her job and it showed on her face every time she was around. I will miss her."
The outpouring of adoration for Lee is immeasurable, as she was a respected and beloved figure in the genre. An Arkansas native, Lee began her career in journalism after college, landing a reporting job immediately following graduation. From there, she gave television a try as a reporter at KTAL-TV in Louisiana.
Nashville soon began calling her name, and in 1995, Lee began working at Jim Owens and Associates, followed by CMT a few years later, where she was a news correspondent and producer. In 2004, Lee moved to Los Angeles and became the Hollywood-based correspondent and West Coast News Bureau Chief for CMT Insider.
But where she truly shined was at the Academy of Country Music. Serving as the Senior Vice President of creative and content for the ACM at the time of her passing, Lee was a guiding force behind the scenes. She was at the helm of everything from the ACM Tempo magazine to the ACM Awards program book, and both the ACM and ACM Lifting Lives websites. In more recent years, you'd find her in the spotlight and on red carpets, like in this footage from the 2017 pre-ACM Awards event:
"We lost one of our true lights yesterday," Keith Urban says in recognizing her death. "Lisa Lee was one of the most passionate and caring people I’ve ever met. Her love and appreciation of music, and the artists who made it, was everything you’d ever want."
"I always loved getting to visit with Lisa whether it be about the music business or an interview," Reba McEntire says. "She was a huge asset to our business. I sure will miss her smiling face."
Lee is survived by her husband and two children. A visitation will be held Friday, Aug. 27, from 5-8PM at Moore's Funeral Home in Cabot, Ark., followed by a memorial service on Saturday. A celebration of life in Nashville will also take place at a later date.
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