Nashville music executive Ed Hardy dies at 73: 'He leaves a huge void and will be missed'

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean appointed Ed Hardy to co-chair the Music City Music Council.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean appointed Ed Hardy to co-chair the Music City Music Council.

Ed Hardy, a music industry executive whose career included a longstanding post as president of cable network Great American Country, died Sunday at age 73.

Hardy's death was announced by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation,  where he served as chairman of the organization's Foundation Board, Music City, Inc.

"Ed Hardy served this organization in so many ways," NCVC CEO Butch Spyridon said in a statement to The Tennessean.

"– First as a broadcast partner, then a sponsor, then a board member and then chairing both the NCVC board of directors and the board of our foundation. Through that, we developed a deep friendship that transcended work. It is very unusual to have a boss, mentor and friend all at the same time. He leaves a huge void and will be missed.”

Previous coverage: Ed Hardy talks Music Council's role and future

From 2013: Ed Hardy to become chairman of CMA

Hardy's 50-year-career began in radio, from his native Ohio to Denver and Louisville, and was hired by Scripps Howard Broadcasting to run Portland's KUPL AM/FM in 1984.

In the 1990s, he built Deschutes River Broadcasting to a group of 19 stations operating throughout the Pacific Northwest. After selling the group, he served as President and CEO of MeasureCast, a pioneer in analysis of digital streaming audiences.

His eight-year run at Great American Country, starting in 2004, included a rebrand for the cable network and moving its headquarters from Colorado to Music Row. He retired in 2012.

Hardy also served on numerous boards in Nashville, including positions at the Country Music Association, W.O. Smith Music School and NCVC. He served for 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves and was heavily involved with Operation Song, which offers guidance in songwriting to veterans, active military and their families.

Hardy is survived by his wife, Kim Susan Hardy, Jacob and Stephanie (Hardy) Kasbrick, grandchildren Emmie Jeanne and Bear Weller and cousins Patrick M. Hardy, Thomas A. Hardy, Catherine A. Hardy and John J. Hardy.

A celebration of life will be held at the W.O. Smith Music School. Details and date have yet to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to W.O. Smith Music School, Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center (Daniels Center) at MTSU, or Operation Song.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Ed Hardy, Nashville music executive, dies at 73