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James Horner, Oscar-winning Titanic composer, dies in plane crash

Oscar-winning composer James Horner died in a plane crash in southern California on Monday. His death was confirmed several hours after the crash by his assistant, Sylvia Patrycja. In a post on Facebook, Patrycja wrote, “We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent. He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road.”

While details of exactly what happened are yet to emerge, it’s thought Horner’s small aircraft, believed to be a two-seat S-312 Tucano MK1 turbo-prop, went down in a remote area some 60 miles north of Santa Barbara. It’s not thought anyone else was on board the plane.

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Following his first Oscar nomination for his work on the 1986 sci-fi hit Aliens, the acclaimed film composer, who was 61, went on to pick up two Academy Awards, one for best original dramatic score for James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster Titanic, and the other for the movie’s hit song, My Heart Will Go On, co-written with Will Jennings and sung by Celine Dion.

The Titanic score went on to become the biggest selling orchestral movie soundtrack of all time, selling in the region of 30 million copies. Horner also worked on huge Hollywood hits such as Avatar, A Beautiful Mind, Braveheart, and Apollo 13.

Born in Los Angeles, Horner’s training included a music degree from the University of Southern California and time spent at the Royal College of Music in London. Following concert hall work, his movie break came in 1979 with The Lady in Red.

Reacting to news of the composer’s untimely death, director Ron Howard called Horner a “brilliant composer.” Russell Crowe, who starred in A Beautiful Mind, offered his condolences to Horner’s family and friends, while actor Rob Lowe said his work will “live on through the ages.”