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July 20, 2020

Time Out announces return to print as founder Tony Elliott dies aged 73

By Dominic Ponsford

The founder of entertainment and listings magazine Time Out, Tony Elliott, has died aged 73.

He had been suffering from lung cancer according to a statement from the company’s chief executive Julio Bruno on LinkedIn.

Elliott founded the magazine in 1968 during his summer vacation from Keele University and produced its first edition on his mother’s kitchen table in Kensington.

The magazine subsequently branched out to cover major cities across the globe.

Today, Time Out’s print and digital brand is said to cover 328 cities and 58 countries. In recent years it has expanded into retail with the launch of Time Out Markets .  These food and cultural markets have launched in Portugal and five locations in the US.

The founding UK edition of Time Out has a free weekly circulation of 300,000 until it went digital-only in March in response to coronavirus.

A statement from Time Out said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that Time Out’s founder Tony Elliott passed away on July 16, after a long illness.

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“Tony was a visionary publisher, a tireless champion of city culture and a staunch friend.

“He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

“His life and his work inspired millions of people who did not have the good fortune to know him personally.”

The magazine’s first post-lockdown print edition, which will be published next month, will be a special issue dedicated to Elliott, the statement added.

Bruno added that Elliott “would not allow” his illness to stop him.

“It was remarkable to see,” he said.

“He kept looking at the world with those inquisitive eyes, with that innate curiosity that very few possess in such measure.

“And he was so very proud of his baby until the end: Time Out.”

He said: “Tony kept sending emails and calling until the last minute, not just to me but to several other colleagues, about every aspect of our content, the design, the typeface, our web, our social channels, our market, our purpose.

“Time Out for him was a creation of love and generosity. He loved London intimately, its culture and its counterculture, and wanted to share his passion for the city with the world. But Tony wasn’t going to stop at one city, after London he conquered the world, taking the brand, the ethos of Time Out to hundreds of cities. In doing so he touched the lives of millions of people.

“As a board member of our company, Tony kept advising us on our direction, our purpose, and the meaning of Time Out. Tony was engaged with the company until the end, guiding us and encouraging us. We will miss him dearly.

“At a personal level I met Tony five years ago and spent many hours talking to him about his favourite subject, Time Out. I learned from him every day we met. Last time I saw him in person was mid March just before confinement and he was in good spirits despite knowing his ultimate fate.

“We had lunch with him and his wife Janey Elliott at his home, and we spent three hours discussing the company, the content, the Time Out Markets, our expansion, and everything in between.

“As always, it was an enriching moment. His last email to me was about a design issue with our website, only last week. Tony was very proud of his company and wanted to make sure all aspects of it were perfect. He was relentless and I loved him for that. I will miss him very much. I will miss his advice, his passion, his profound understanding of the Media world. And I will miss his friendship above all. ”

Among those paying tribute were beer writer Roger Potz who said on Twitter: “Very sad to learn of the death of #TonyElliott founder of @timeout, brilliant publisher & campaigner for city culture. Tony appointed me as an early news editor then sacked me for ‘taking the magazine too far to the left’. Paved the way for my career in beer. I’m not bitter…”

BBC arts editor Will Gompertz said: “I’m sorry to say that Tony Elliott, the visionary founder of Time Out has died. He really was the most wonderful, generous person whose passionate support for the arts was unstinting and invaluable. Sad day.”

Reader Mike Abbott said on Twitter: “Remember buying from day one the scrappy pocket-sized booklet each week that told the counter culture revolutionaries where to turn up, turn on and tune in.”

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