Legendary music composer James Horner has died in a plane crash near Santa Barbara. Known for music that usually pulled at your heart strings, Horner scored Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic, for which he won two Academy Awards. He has worked with Cameron on many occasions, including Aliens (1986) and Avatar (2009). He was reportedly working on the Avatar sequels with Cameron as well.
For his work on the 1997 best picture winner Titanic, Horner captured the Oscar for original dramatic score, and he also came away with another Academy Award for original song (shared with lyricist Will Jennings) for “My Heart Will Go On,” performed by Celine Dion. The soundtrack for Titanic sold huge 27 million copies worldwide and cemented James Horner as one of the “go to” music composers in Hollywood.
His death was indeed confirmed by Sylvia Patrycja, who is identified on Horner’s film music page as his assistant.
We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent,” Patrycja wrote on Facebook on Monday. “He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road.
James Horner was an accomplished concert hall composer before he moved into writing film scores. His first major film score was for the 1979 film The Lady in Red, but did not establish himself as a mainstream composer until he worked on the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Horner’s score for Titanic is the best selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time, while Titanic and Avatar, both directed by James Cameron, are the two highest grossing films of all time.
Horner collaborated multiple times with directors Jean-Jacques Annaud, Mel Gibson, Walter Hill, Ron Howard, and Joe Johnston. Horner composed music for over 100 films and over the years collected an impressive array of awards that included:
- Two Academy Awards
- Two Golden Globe Awards
- Three Satellite Awards
- Three Saturn Awards
- Nominated for three British Academy Film Awards
My job — and it’s something I discuss with Jim all the time — is to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart,” Horner said in a 2009 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears — at all times I’m keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role.
He was 61. R.I.P James Horner, you will be missed.