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It is with great sadness that we report that renowned film composer James Horner has died in a plane crash. Horner was 61.

Horner apparently was piloting a small two seater single engine aircraft when it crashed 60 miles north of Santa Barbara. The crash sparked a brush fire which was extinguished by fire fighters who later found the plane completely destroyed.

Horner’s death was confirmed on Facebook by his assistant Sylvia Patriycia:

While best known for his work on ‘Titanic’ (where he won an Oscar for Best Score and Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On”), Horner has contributed his musical talent to the soundtrack of numerous genre films including ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,’ ‘Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘The Rocketeer,’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ ‘The Amazing Spider-man,’ ‘Coccon,’ ‘Krull,’ ‘An American Tail (where he also won a Grammy for the song “Somewhere Out There”),’ ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ and ‘The Land Before Time’ to name a few. If you visited Disneyland in the 80s, then you are familiar with the music of the Tomorrowland attraction ‘Captain EO’ which Horner also scored.

Some of his work outside of the genre include ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘Troy,’ ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘The Perfect Storm,’ and ‘Braveheart.’

But it was his work with James Cameron which Horner is most associated with. Not only for ‘Titanic,’ but the composer also worked on the music from the films ‘Aliens’ and ‘Avatar’ and was currently working with Cameron on the ‘Avatar’ sequels.

Music has always played an important part of a film and a few notes of a score can bring you to the same despair and sadness experienced by a character, heighten your senses to near frightfulness, or bring a smile to your face with that happy onscreen ending.

In an 2009 interview with the LA Times Horner stated:

“My job — and it’s something I discuss with Jim [Cameron] all the time — is to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart. 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.”

Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Horner’s family and friends. The cinematic world is sadly quieter with his passing.