James Horner, the composer behind the soundtracks of movies such as Titanic, Braveheart and A Beautiful Mind, has died at 61, after his plane crashed near Santa Barbara on Monday, June 22.
His death was confirmed by Sylvia Patrycja, his assistant, who wrote an emotional message on her Facebook page in the hours after reports emerged that a plane, registered to the composer, had gone down, but the pilot had yet to be identified.
"We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart, and unbelievable talent," Patrycja wrote on Facebook. "He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road."
Horner had won an Oscar twice for his impressive catalogue of movie scores. In 1997 he won both the Best Original Dramatic Score gong for Titanic, and Best Original Song for Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," from the same movie (an award which was shared with lyricist Will Jennings). He also earned Academy nominations for his work on many of his other movie productions, including Aliens, Avatar, Braveheart, and A Beautiful Mind.
Horner spoke about his incredibly successful career in a conversation with David Hoquet, which formed part of BAFTA conversations series, in December, saying he was very selective, these days, in the work he undertook. "I don’t get offered all the movies obviously, but I see a lot of them and I do get asked to do a lot of them, and I just know they’re not asking me to do something that I can do something original, they’re asking me to do a formula, and I’m too rebellious," he revealed.
As news of Horner's tragic death hit the headlines, Hollywood's big names reacted immediately.
"Rene and I are deeply saddened by the tragic death of James Horner," Dion said in a statement. "He will always remain a great composer in our hearts. James played an important part in my career. We will miss him. We offer his family and friends our deepest sympathy," she added.
Other stars took to social media to express their sadness. "Brilliant composer, James Horner, friend & collaborator on 7 movies has tragically died in a plane crash," director Ron Howard wrote via Twitter. "My heart aches for his loved ones," he added.
Here's some of the reactions from other big names in Hollywood:
We lost a MASTER today. RIP James Horner. Your music will live forever… https://t.co/qi4n0hiX0d
— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) June 23, 2015
I"m so sad to hear about James Horner..He scored the first movie I did..Star Trek 2…great composer..great person…huge loss
— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) June 23, 2015
RIP James Horner. Thank U for the beautiful music. We will miss what beautiful music was yet to come
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) June 23, 2015
— Rita Wilson (@RitaWilson) June 23, 2015
My sincere condolences to the family, loved ones and friends of James Horner. #abeautifulmind
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) June 23, 2015
Incredibly saddened to hear about the loss of James Horner. I grew up loving his work. He leaves behind a spectacular musical legacy.
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) June 23, 2015
There is nothing that shaped my movie-going experience more than the musical genius of James Horner. He will live on through the ages.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) June 23, 2015
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