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ACL Founder Bill Arhos Dies

AUSTIN, TX (CelebrityAccess) — Bill Arhos, the founder of the long running television show "Austin City Limits" died of complications of heart disease. He was 80.

Arhos' death was first announced by KLRU, the public television station in Austin which first broadcast Austin City Limits.

According to an obituary published by KLRU, Arhos first joined the station (then operating as KLRN) in 1961 as it was preparing to launch. In 1974, Arhos developed the idea for a music performance program for the station and shot a pilot for Austin City Limits with the relatively unknown Willie Nelson.

Initially created to showcase Texas music such as western swing and progressive country, Austin City Limits has since widened its scope and presented a wide spectrum of music, from jazz to jam bands. The show would go on to put Austin on America's musical map and become the first television program to earn a National Medal of Arts.

“I’ve never met anyone like Bill Arhos,” says ACL Executive Producer and longtime colleague Terry Lickona. “He was a real character, known and loved not just in Austin but throughout the PBS system. The idea for Austin City Limits was not just his alone, but he brought it to life, and he kept the show going and growing through some difficult times. Whether they know it or not, millions of music fans, artists and PBS viewers owe a debt to him for his enormous contribution to what’s become a cultural institution.”

Arhos was inducted into the Austin City Limits Inaugural Hall of Fame in 2014.

Arhos will be buried in a private ceremony and his family requests donations to the Bill Arhos Fund at KLRU in lieu of flowers.