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Oscar-Winning ‘Titanic’ Composer James Horner Dies in Small Plane Crash

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Oscar-winning film and TV composer James Horner whose decades-long career included work on films such as Braveheart, Apollo 13, and Titanic, died Monday after his single engine aircraft went down north of Santa Barbara, CA.

The 61-year-old was piloting an aircraft that went down at around 9:30 a.m. Monday in the Los Padres National Forest, per KNBC-LA.

“We haven’t heard from James,” attorney Jay Cooper told the affiliate early Monday. “We don’t know where he was headed.”

Cooper added: “He flies a lot and is an experienced pilot.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Horner’s death was confirmed Monday afternoon by his assistant Sylvia Patrycja, who wrote on Facebook, “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.”

Horner was first nominated for an Academy Award in 1987 for his work on the film Alien. In 1998, after five more nominations, the composer took home two Oscars for his work on James Cameron’s Titanic, including composing the music for the film’s theme song “My Heart Will Go On,” which was performed by Celine Dion.

Born in Los Angeles in 1953, Horner moved to London to study music after graduating high school at the Royal Academy of Music. He returned to the United States and earned a degree from the University of Southern California, and eventually went on to earn a graduate degree in Composition at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The award-winner’s breakthrough success came in 1982, when he scored the films Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and 48 Hrs.

The sought-after composer leaves behind a legacy of music that touched generations of cinema fans, which is something he humbly acknowledged during an interview with Film Music in December of 2014.

When reminded of his influence on modern film, Horner told the site’s David Hocquet: “…it’s nice to be reminded and I’m very flattered, but I just lose track of all of that. I do my best and then I put it in the mail and hope for the best.”


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