Renowned Lebanese producer and director Simon Asmar dies at 76

The exceptional filmmaker launched the careers of many Lebanese stars

Lebanese producer of the popular "Studio al-Fan" talent show, Simon Asmar, presents an award to the program's presenter Elsa Zgheib at the MTV studios in Beirut on June 5, 2010, after announcing that next year's show will be presented as of November 2010 from Tunisia.   AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP)
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Renowned Lebanese producer and director Simon Asmar passed away on Thursday, September 12 at the age of 76, Lebanese news media has reported.

It was also reported that he was suffering from chronic kidney disease.

One of the Lebanese media's most prominent figures, Asmar became famous in the music and entertainment television industry with shows such as Studio al-Fan, which aired in the 1980s on state-run television station Tele Liban.

The programme, an 80s version of today's talent competition shows such as Arab Idol or The Voice, launched the careers of a number of Lebanese stars such as Majida Al Roumi, Walid Toufic, Nawal El Zoghby, Ragheb Alama, Wael Kfoury, Assi El Hellani and many others.

As a result, Asmar became known in the industry as the 'Star Maker'.

Lebanese celebrities have been quick to express how the director has changed their life.

Legendary singer Walid Toufic shared a photo of the director on Instagram with the words "Goodbye Simon Asmar". Nawal El Zoghby shared several tweets remembering the director and "his distinction in the world of television, media and art creation," she wrote.

Lebanese diva Lady Madonna wrote: "Lebanon and the Arab world have lost a genius..." adding that he had a hand in her successful singing career.

Asmar is survived by his wife Nada Kraidy and three children: Wasim, Karim and Bachir.