Lisa Lee, Senior Vice President of creative and content for the Academy of Country Music, died from brain cancer on Saturday. She was 52.
“The Academy has lost a huge part of its heart and soul with the passing of Lisa Lee,” said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, in a statement. “She was a champion for Country Music and fiercely dedicated to the Academy’s mission for her over 15 years of service to the ACM. She is irreplaceable, but her heart and spirit will live on throughout our industry. ACM Honors was her favorite event, and I know she will be singing along and smiling down on us from above on Wednesday night.”
Lee was born Alicia Faye Young in Cabot, Arkansas, on December 24, 1968. She began her career as a journalist first at the Cabot Star-Herald newspaper and later on TV for NBC affiliate KTAL-TV serving Texarkana and Shreveport, LA where she quickly fell into the world of entertainment. She shared movie reviews with her audience and covered country music events when some of its biggest and brightest would pop into town.
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“Lisa has always been a light inside our industry. 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,” Luke Bryant shared.
She segued into a position with CMT and CMT.com that allowed her to focus on country music full time covering events domestically but also in England, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland. Next, she moved to Los Angeles as the Hollywood-based correspondent and West Coast News Bureau Chief for CMT Insider where she covered music, movies, and TV.
Her career took a different turn by 2007, she accepted a job at the Academy of Country Music as a lead staff producer and she continued climbing the ladder within.
She served as a liaison with CBS television’s creative departments and CBS.com, was named producer of the Academy of Country Music Honors, and later rising to the position of Senior Vice President.
Throughout her years supporting country music, she interacted with some of its business stars including Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and Trisha Yearwood. All of who remember Lee amid the heartbreaking news of her death.
McEntire: “I always loved getting to visit with Lisa whether it be about the music business or an interview. She was a huge asset to our business. I sure will miss her smiling face.
Chesney: “Lisa Lee and I grew up together in this business. She was a TV reporter, producer, writer, and big executive. She covered my heroes and my friends, she wrote about me and my mother. She truly cared about country music – and I absolutely cared about her. Good-bye, my sweet friend.”
Urban: “We lost one of our true lights yesterday. 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 loved being interviewed by her for that reason and because she always brought such warmth into the room. Peace be with all of her family today.”
Yearwood: “Lisa Lee loved country music, and if you knew her, she LOVED you. We are a better industry because of the love and care she showed in everything she did. I know she always had a smile and kind word for me. She loved life. We all need to take a lesson from the book of Lisa and let kindness and love lead the way.”
Lisa is survived by her parents, Charlie and Faye Young; her husband Doug Lee; daughter Grayson, and son Jackson.
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