‘Titanic’ composer James Horner dies in plane crash

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‘Titanic’ composer James Horner dies in plane crash

LOS ANGELES - James Horner, who composed music for dozens of films and won two Oscars for his work on “Titanic,’’ died when his plane crashed in Southern California, his agents confirmed Tuesday. He was 61.

Agents Michael Gorfaine and Sam Schwartz issued a statement saying Horner had died, although official confirmation could take several days while the Ventura County coroner works to identify the remains of the pilot, who was the only person on board.

People who fueled the plane at an airport in Camarillo confirmed that he took off in the aircraft Monday morning, said Horner’s attorney, Jay Cooper.

The S-312 Tucano MK1 turboprop crashed and burned in a remote area of the Los Padres National Forest, 160 kilometers (99 miles) northwest of Los Angeles.

Horner’s credits ran the gamut from big-budget blockbusters to foreign-language independent films. He even composed the theme song for the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.’’

His work was nominated for 10 Academy Awards. He won two for 1997’s best picture, “Titanic,’’ for the movie score and its enduring theme song, “My Heart Will Go On,’’ sung by Celine Dion. It became a best-seller.

“We will always remember his kindness and great talent that changed my career,’’ Dion said in a statement on her website.

He has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards honoring his work on “Alien,’’ “Apollo 13,’’ “Field of Dreams,’’ “Braveheart,’’ “A Beautiful Mind,’’ “House of Sand and Fog’’ and “Avatar,’’ and for his original song, “Somewhere Out There,’’ from “An American Tail.’’

“The ‘Avatar’ community has lost one of our great creative lights with the passing of James Horner,’’ James Cameron and Jon Landau, who respectively directed and produced “Avatar,’’ said in a statement. “James’ music was the air under the banshees’ wings, the ancient song of the forest, and the heartbeat of Eywa. We have lost not only a great team-mate and collaborator, but a good friend. James’ music affected the heart because his heart was so big.’’

“My Heart Will Go On’’ hit No. 1 around the world and became the best-selling single of 1998. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America included it among its “Songs of the Century’’ rankings.

A pianist since age 5, Horner studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the University of Southern California, eventually earning graduate degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles.

He got his start composing for movies by scoring shorts for the American Film Institute. AP
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