Update: Horner’s death has been ruled an accident. The cause of death was blunt force trauma from the crash, according to Ventura County Deputy Medical Examiner Zeb Dunn, via Billboard.
Oscar-winning composer James Horner has died in a plane crash in Southern California aged 61.
Horner’s single-engine plane crashed on Monday morning near Santa Barbara. The identity of the pilot was not initially known, however Horner’s assistant Sylvia Patrycja later confirmed his death via her Facebook page.
“We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent,” Patrycja wrote. “He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support.”
Horner’s S-312 Tucano MK1 turbo-prop aircraft crashed at around 9.30am local time on Monday in the Los Padres national forest, said Mike Lindbery, a spokesperson for the Ventura County fire service. Horner was the only person on board.
Horner was born in Los Angeles in 1953. He trained at the Royal College of Music in London before returning to undertake a bachelor’s degree in music at the University of Southern California.
Horner earned his first Academy award nomination for his score for Aliens in 1986 and went on to compose the music for blockbusters including Braveheart, Apollo 13, Jumanji, Deep Impact, A Beautiful Mind and Avatar.
Horner won two Oscars for his work on James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997, including the award for Best Original Song for ‘My Heart Will Go On’, which he co-wrote alongside Will Jennings. [via The Hollywood Reporter]