Howard Schultz (pictured), the founder and CEO of U.S. indie Lighthearted Entertainment, has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 61.
Schultz, who launched Lighthearted in 1992 and exec produced ABC’s Extreme Makeover, died yesterday (December 29) while vacationing with his family in Hawaii.
In a statement issued today, Lighthearted’s exec VP Rob LaPlante paid tribute to his colleague.
“Beyond Howard’s incredible television acumen existed a man who truly cared for everyone he encountered, in a way unique from anyone I have ever met,” he said. “TV has lost a visionary mind, and we have lost a mentor in life.”
Further details of Schultz’s passing have not yet been made public. Details of memorial services are pending.
LaPlante and Spangler “will continue to carry the Lighthearted banner in Schultz’s wake,” according to a statement issued today on behalf of the company.