AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – This morning the arts community is mourning the loss of a great lady and friend.

Debi Ballas, the Augusta Players Artistic Director Emerita passed away early Monday.

She had battled systemic scleroderma for the past 12 years.

Ballas’s contributions to the arts in the CSRA are impossible to measure.

“Larger than life. And when she… she lived larger than life. She loved larger than life. She performed larger than life. And you could not help but be caught up into that,” said longtime friend and Augusta Jr. Players Artistic Director, Roy Lewis.

Lewis said Ballas’s legacy is in the children. She had a passion for bringing theater into the lives of young actors.

And her devotion to her family and friends is beyond compare.

“I’m so lucky to have had something that I loved so much that I’m sad that I have to say goodbye. And that was Debi. Is that you… you couldn’t help love her as a person. You couldn’t help but love her as an artist,” said Lewis.

She also loved her church, holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, where she served on the parish council and chaired the Greek Festival.

To the Ballas family this morning, you are in our thoughts and prayers.