James Horner dead: Oscar-winning Titanic composer dies aged 61

61-year-old composer, who wrote the original score for the Oscar-winning score for the 1997 blockbuster, died in a light aircraft crash

Oscar-winning composer James Horner has died in a plane crash in California aged 61.

Mr Horner wrote the scores of Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic, for which he won two Academy Awards, died in a light aircraft crash near Santa Barbara, his assistant confirmed.

The identity of the pilot remained unknown after the small two-seater S-312 Tucano MK1 turbo-prop aeroplane, registered in Mr Horner’s name, came down in Southern California on Monday at around 9.30am.

The musician’s assistant Sylvia Patrycja confirmed Mr Horner’s death on her Facebook page, writing: "He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road."

Mr Horner worked on the 1997 film Titanic, winning an Oscar for the best original dramatic score and for best original song, shared with lyricist Will Jennings, for “My Heart Will Go On” performed by Celine Dion.

Friends and former colleagues have taken to social media to tweet their condolences. Russell Crowe, who worked with the composer on A Beautiful Mind, tweeted the following:

Born in 1953 in Los Angeles, Mr Horner trained at the Royal College of Music in London before his return to California where he studied a degree in music at the University of South California.

His first Oscar nomination was for the score of Aliens, and he would go on to write the music for more than 100 films – including Apollo 13, Patriot Games, Enemy at the Gates, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Avatar – and in the course of his career he won two Golden Globes, three Satellite Awards, three Saturn Awards and was nominated for three Baftas.

A trained pilot, he owned a number of small aircraft. He is survived by his wife Sarah and their two daughters. The family have asked for privacy at this time.

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