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Arts and Entertainment

James Horner, 'Titanic' Composer, Reportedly Dead In Plane Crash

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James Horner, the Academy Award-winning composer who scored many of Hollywood's biggest hits, has reportedly died in a plane crash near Santa Barbara.

A single-engine S312 Tucano belonging to Horner, 61, crashed Monday morning in a remote area of Ventura County, killing the pilot. Horner has not been officially ID'd by the coroner's office. The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. on Quatal Canyon Road in the Los Padres National Forest, the Los Angeles Times reports. The crash sparked a 2-acre brush fire.

Horner's camp has not officially confirmed his death, though his attorney confirmed that the plane involved in the crash was one of five belonging to Horner. No one has heard from him. His assistant put up a Facebook message all but confirming his death.

A great tragedy has struck my family today, and I will not be around for a while. I would like some privacy and time to...

Posted by Sylvia Patrycja on Monday, June 22, 2015
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Horner was the composer behind some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters, most famously Titanic. Horner, who has been nominated many times, won two Academy Awards for his work in the 1997 classic. Deadline notes that originally director James Cameron didn't want any singing in his movie, but Horner knew that he had something special in the Celine Dion ballad "My Heart Will Go On," which was co-written with Will Jennings.

When Horner was honored for his legacy in 2011 at eDIT Filmmakers Festival, Cameron praised him this way:

“In Titanic, I challenged you to do an emotionally powerful score without violinists, and with the use of haunting vocals and bittersweet Celtic pipes, you reinvented the romantic score. Avatar was a very different challenge — to capture the heart and spirit of an alien culture without alienated the audience. By combining the sweep of a classic orchestral score with indigenous instrumentation and vocals, you came up with a unique sound that created both the epic sweep of the film and also childlike sense of wonder of experiencing that fantastic world for the first time."

Dion sent out a remembrance of the composer:

Horner's career spanned four decades, and he provided the soundtrack to other films including Aliens, Field of Dreams, Apollos 13, Braveheart, A Beautiful Mind and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

The FAA is investigating the crash. In the meantime, Hollywood has been posting fond memories of Horner and his legacy:

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Here are some of his most famous compositions:

And of course, "My Heart Will Go":