James Horner, the Oscar-winning composer responsible for the scores to blockbuster movies such as Titanic, Braveheart and Avatar, is feared dead after a private plane he is believed to have been flying crashed in Southern California on Monday (June 22nd).

The Hollywood Reporter identified Horner, 61, as the pilot of the small aeroplane, although neither the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) nor local authorities have officially confirmed this at the time of writing, although it has stated that one person has been killed.

James HornerMovie soundtrack composer James Horner is feared dead after a private plane crash

The crash was reported at 9:30am on Monday in a remote stretch of the Los Padres National Forest, according to a statement by Ventura County sheriff’s department. The FAA’s sole statement has confirmed that a single-engine S312 Tucano MK1 had crashed in “unknown circumstances”, sparking a small brush fire upon landing that was swiftly extinguished by the local fire department.

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The initial report cited a Facebook post by Horner’s assistant Sylvia Patrcjya, which read “A great tragedy has struck my family today, and I will not be around for a while. I would like some privacy and time to heal. We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart, and unbelievable talent. He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road.”

Jay Cooper, Horner’s attorney, later told The Washington Post that the plane did indeed belong to his client and that he had been unable to make contact with him. “He was a composer of great stature,” Cooper said, adding that Horner owned three planes and two helicopters. “He was an experienced pilot and he flew all the time.”

Horner won two Oscars, both for his work on 1997’s Titanic, and was nominated for many others, including Aliens, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind and House of Sand and Fog.

Fearing the worst, many tributes have been pouring in from actors and colleagues on social media, led by Celine Dion, who sang his Titanic theme tune ‘My Heart Will Go On’. She wrote “Rene [Angelil, her husband] 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.”

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