SXSW Co-Founder Louis Meyers Dies as His Festival Opens for the 30th Time

The news came minutes before Obama's speech

The Austin Statesman is reporting that Louis Meyers, one of the co-founders of South by Southwest—which started today in Central Texas—has died. Meyers was a booking agent and musician back in 1987 and launched the music festival with Roland Swenson, Louis Black and Nick Barbaro that year.

Swenson, currently SXSW's festival director, confirmed the news to the Statesman. The newspaper reported that he suffered a heart attack at his home in Austin last night; his age was not disclosed.

In the last three decades, SXSW has become a sprawling music, tech and film show that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every March. For some, it is a rite of spring and a major moment in American pop culture every year.

Word of Meyer's passing came from the Statesman's Twitter account literally minutes before President Barack Obama was scheduled to begin speaking at the conference. Obama is the first U.S. president to address the 30-year-old festival.