Oscar-winning ‘Titanic’ composer James Horner dies in plane crash

Horner also wrote the scores for 'Avatar', 'Aliens', 'Braveheart' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Oscar-winning composer James Horner has died at the age of 61 in a plane crash.

Horner, who wrote the scores to numerous enormously successful films including Titanic, Avatar, Braveheart and Aliens, was piloting a small private plane in southern California that crashed down north of Santa Barbara yesterday morning (June 22). His assistant, Sylvia Patrycja, confirmed the sad news on Facebook, writing: “We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart, and unbelievable talent. He died doing what he loved.”

Horner, who won two Oscars, one for Titanic‘s score, and one for its original song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ performed by Celine Dion, is believed to have been alone aboard the plane. Dion and her husband Rene have paid tribute to the late composer in a statement, writing: “Rene and I are deeply saddened by the tragic death of James Horner. He will always remain a great composer in our hearts. James played an important part in my career. We will miss him. We offer his family and friends our deepest sympathy.”

Director Ron Howard, who worked with Horner on seven films including Cocoon and A Beautiful Mind, used Twitter to pay tribute to the late composer.

Horner’s most recent film scores include 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man and this year’s Southpaw, a boxing drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal that opens in cinemas next month (July). In addition to his two Oscars, Horner was nominated for eight more Academy Awards during his 37-year composing career, and also won two Golden Globe Awards and three Saturn Awards.