In the words of his ex-wife and mother of his 16-year-old daughter, Joe Cahill, a longtime Boulder concert lighting designer killed Sunday in New Orleans, was a man with an "enormous heart" who had a positive effect on the many people he met in life.
"He did everything he could do for people he knew, and he knew a lot of people," said Andrea Rossin, who first met Cahill in their home state of New York when she was 17.
Rossin said she was first attracted to Cahill because he was cute, played guitar and listened to jam bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish. She said Cahill and the couple's circle of friends rallied around the "awesomeness of live music."
Rossin would eventually follow Cahill to Colorado. The couple had a daughter, Cassidy, and spent time following Phish around in a Volkswagen bus.
Cahill turned his passion for live music into an accomplished career, doing lighting work for musicians including The String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, as well as the Fox Theatre and Boulder Theater.
"There were a lot of people who his life touched," Rossin said.
The New Orleans Coroner's Office on Wednesday confirmed that Cahill was killed Sunday after police say he barged into a New Orleans residence and was shot by the homeowner, according to the Times-Picayune newspaper.
Cahill, 40, had been on tour with Boulder-area jam and bluegrass band Leftover Salmon. John Joy, the group's manager, sent a statement to the Daily Camera on behalf of the band.
"Joe was an essential part of the Leftover Salmon team," Joy wrote. "He was a hard worker and loved by all. We are all shocked and saddened to learn of his tragic passing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Cahill family, his friends and the music community that Joe was such a big part of. He will be greatly missed."
Other musicians who had become close with Cahill over the years also expressed sadness after learning of his death.
"Super Super Bummed ... My good friend Joe Cahill was taken from us," Karl Denson posted on his official Facebook page Wednesday.
Denson, who said he had been planning to meet up with Cahill in New Orleans this week to catch up, expressed disbelief at the circumstances New Orleans authorities say led up to Cahill's death.
"And whatever happened, I'm sure after knowing him for years, that it was a tragic mistake brought on by those dark forces in his nature," Denson wrote. "But that wasn't the real Joe. He was a genuinely nice man who tried to do the right things. He loved his daughter and looked forward to being there to help lead her through her blossoming life. He was like a little brother to me."
Karen Shaviv, a production manager at the Fox who knew Cahill for more than 10 years, told the Camera on Wednesday that Cahill had been touring with Leftover Salmon as the band's lighting designer and had just helped the group wrap up its tour Saturday night.
While most of the band and crew returned home, Cahill stayed in New Orleans and was planning to visit friends and take in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
According to the Times-Picayune, people alerted two New Orleans Police Department bicycle officers that a man -- identified as Cahill -- was bloody and acting irate in the street not far from the fairgrounds, which was hosting the first weekend of Jazz Fest at the time.
As the police were speaking with him, Cahill pushed one of the officers and began running on North Broad Street, the newspaper reported. The officers lost sight of him, and when they reached the 1500 block of North Broad, they heard a gunshot.
The homeowner told police a bloodied Cahill entered his residence and began fighting with people inside. Fearing for his life, the homeowner shot Cahill, who later died at a nearby hospital, according to the Times-Picayune.
No charges have been filed against the homeowner.
Cheryl Liguori, CEO of Z2 Entertainment, the entity that runs the Fox and the Boulder Theater, described Cahill as a kind and happy person.
"He was very skilled. He was a sought-after (lighting designer) for bands heading out on tour. He was responsible and a pleasure to work with," Liguori said. "It's tragic, and everybody is pretty shocked and extremely sad. He will be sorely missed."
The Facebook page for Harpos Sports Grill on Wednesday afternoon posted a message memorializing Cahill and inviting those close to him to a gathering at George's Food and Drink on Friday evening. Liguori said that gathering will be a private event meant to give friends and coworkers an opportunity to grieve together.
Liguori said planning is under way for a larger, public memorial for Cahill to be held at the Fox Theatre in a few weeks. The event will likely also serve as a benefit for Cahill's daughter.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.