Vangelis death: Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner composer dies, aged 79

Musician is remembered as a ‘great Greek composer who excelled at a gobal level’ by his country’s foreign minister

Inga Parkel
Thursday 19 May 2022 19:09
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<p>Oscar-winning composer Vangelis </p>

Oscar-winning composer Vangelis

Oscar-winning composer Vangelis, best known for his work on Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, has died. He was 79.

Vangelis – born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou – passed away late Tuesday (17 May). A cause of death has yet to be made public.

His death was reported by Athens News Agency, citing an announcement made by his lawyers’ office.

Born in Agria, Greece, Papathanassiou was a largely self-taught musician and a member of Greek rock bands The Forminx and Aphrodite’s Child.

While still a part of the latter, he wrote one of his earliest film scores for L’Apocalypse des animaux, a French nature documentary.

Described as an innovator in electronic music, his work on Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner landed him a 1981 Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Additionally, the soundtrack album topped the Billboard 200 album chart in April 1982, with the movie’s opening theme “Titles” topping the Billboard Hot 100 a month later.

Nikos Dendias foreign minister of Greece

Papathanassiou began his solo career in 1973, with his first album Fais que ton rêve soit plus long que la nuit. In September 2021, he released his final studio record, Juno to Jupiter.

Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, remembered Papathanassiou as “the protagonist of electronic sound, the Oscars, the Myth and the great hits” in a translated tribute shared on Twitter.

Nikos Dendias, the foreign minister of Greece, also tweeted: “Vangelis Papathanassíou was a great Greek composer who excelled at a global level. We say goodbye with a big ‘thank you’ for what he offered to Music, Culture and Greece.”

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