Oscar-nominated composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett has died. He was 76.

The celebrated British musician, best known for his film and Tv scores, passed away in his sleep at his home in New York on Christmas Eve (24Dec12).

David Arnold, who has scored the James Bond films, took to his Twitter.com page to pay tribute to Sir Richard, writing, "Sad news about Richard Rodney Bennett. One of our greats."

Sir Richard began composing at the tender age of six and went on to produce more than 200 concert pieces, operas and ballets, and was also a jazz singer and pianist.

He also provided scores for movies including Billy Liar, The Nanny, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and received Academy Award nominations for Far From The Madding Crowd in 1968, Nicholas and Alexandra in 1972, and Murder on the Orient Express in 1975.

Sir Richard was knighted in 1998 for his services to music.