Jim Ridley, editor of Nashville's preeminent free weekly newspaper, the Nashville Scene, has died at age 50.
Eleven days after suffering what the Scene calls "a cardiac event" during work, the paper's former managing editor Jack Silverman made the announcement at the Scene's website. Silverman says Ridley never regained consciousness.
Ridley's witty and insightful film reviews started appearing in the paper in 1989, when the Scene was a new, independent startup. He quickly became one of the paper's most beloved contributors.
Jack Silverman tells WPLN's Emily Siner that Ridley's writing was "simply brilliant."
"You know, it sounds maybe like hyperbole now, but it's not," Silverman says. "And I think people who were fans of his writing realize he was one of the most gifted writers.”
Ridley has been the paper's editor since 2009, and Silverman says Ridley's work in that role made those around him shine:
"People would read the stories and say, 'Wow, what a great writer you are, and deep down inside, you knew it was your writing but you knew he had massaged it and made it so much better.' "
Or as the Scene's news editor, Andrea Zelinski, put it: "You'd give him a story and it would come back with glitter all over it."
Zelinski credits Ridley for boosting her confidence as a journalist. She is moving to Texas soon to cover the state legislature there, so Friday was her last day at the magazine — a particularly difficult goodbye, she says.
Here are some reactions from Twitter:
— Jim Cooper (@repjimcooper) April 8, 2016
I can't begin to sum up what Jim Ridley meant to me. If I were to try, I'd want him to edit it. Devastated. https://t.co/hfT3WgJijO
— Steven Hale (@iamstevenhale) April 8, 2016
The thing that I loved about Jim was how much he delighted in the success of those around him. Made him happy. It's a good lesson to learn.
— Steve Cavendish (@scavendish) April 8, 2016