News broke late on Monday night that 2-time Academy Award winning music composer James Horner has died in a plane crash near Santa Barbara, California. He was 61 years old.
The news of Horner’s death was confirmed on Facebook by Sylvia Patrycja, an assistant referenced on Horner’s film music page. “We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent,” Patrycja wrote. “He died doing what he loved.”
The initial news that surfaced early on Monday was that an airplane registered to Horner crashed in the Los Padres National Forest and that Horner was missing. His attorney went on record stating that the plane belonged to Horner and they knew they hadn’t heard from him, but there was no confirmation that Horner was the one piloting the plane until Variety broke the news around 9 o’clock Pacific time.
Before his life as a highly successful film composer, Horner was an accomplished concert hall composer. He broke into mainstream cinema with his score of 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He went on to compose more than a hundred films in his career, which included Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1983), Cocoon (1985), The Land Before Time (1988), Honey I Shrunk the Kids (1989), Glory (1989), Sneakers (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Mask of Zorro (1998), Bicentennial Man (1999) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
Horner was nominated for ten Academy Awards, which included An American Tail (1986), Field of Dreams (1989), Braveheart (1995), Apollo 13 (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001) and House of Sand and Fog (2003). He was a fixture in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (2009). Horner’s two Oscar wins were for Titanic (which sold 27 million copies) and Avatar.