James Horner, the man behind the Music for the Oscar-winning score for the highly acclaimed James Cameron Film Titanic has died in a plane crash. The famous 61-year-old Hollywood composer and qualified pilot is believed to have been the sole person aboard a private plane that crashed on Monday morning. The crash occurred just north of Santa Barbara in America.

Prolific composer

For many movie-goers his face will not be familiar but the music he has produced most certainly will be. In a prolific career he was the brains behind the music for over 100 films in total.

Horner provided the imagination for many of the Hollywood film industry's most engaging and lucrative films of recent times, with his credits including Titanic, Avatar, Cocoon, Aliens and Star Trek II and III.

His breakthrough in terms of major film scores was the 1979 film The Lady in Red, which although not a massive hit at the box office did at least set Horner on his way in the industry.

Academy Award success

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on ten occasions. Memorably his music was included in the highly successful film Titanic that featured the ultimately doomed romantic pairing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's characters, Jack and Rose. It was Titanic for which he won his two Oscars, including his collaboration with the lyricist Will Jennings for Celine Dion's ballad "My Heart Will Go On".

Popular among directors

Many of the industry's most esteemed directors have had the pleasure of collaborating with him on their films, with Cameron and Ron Howard being particular admirers of his work. Others to recognise his abilities represent a who's who of the leading directors of all time, including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Oliver Stone.

A top notch film score is an essential ingredient to feed on the audience's emotions and involve them in the storyline. Horner achieved those twin goals with aplomb, helping Titanic and Avatar to become the top two highest-grossing films of all time.

Braveheart involvement

He also worked with Mel Gibson on the epic film Braveheart, ensuring that the mixed emotions of love, compassion, hatred and revenge that were essential to the plot were stirred through his accompanying soundtrack. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards and scooped five, although Horner unfortunately missed out that time.

The man may be gone but his music will most certainly play on.