One of the world’s best-known and most prolific composers of film scores notably for spaghetti westerns, Ennio Morricone has died in Rome on Monday aged 91.
Morricone was well loved for music he composed for about 500 films, including his old childhood friend Sergio Leone’s 1966 epic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” for which he finally won an Oscar in 2016.
AFP reports that the composer died in hospital where he was being treated for a fractured femur following a fall, according to a statement from lawyer and family friend Giorgio Assuma– AFP.
Morricone “passed away in the early hours of July 6 with the comfort of his faith”, the statement said.
He remained “fully lucid and with great dignity right until the end,” it added.
Born on November 10, 1928, Morricone began composing at the tender age of six, and at just 10 he enrolled in trumpet school at the prestigious Saint-Cecilia conservatory in Rome.
He played in jazz bands throughout the 1940s before beginning to ghost write for film and theatre.
In 1961, at the age of 33, he collaborated with director Luciano Salce in “Mission Ultra-secrete” before going on to gain fame with the score for “A Fistful of Dollars” starring Clint Eastwood in 1964.
Before winning the elusive Oscar for best film score at age 87 in 2016, the Rome-born son of a trumpeter had been nominated no fewer than five times.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with a lifetime achievement award in 2007.
Morricone’s previous nominations were for “Days of Heaven” (1978), “The Mission” (1986), “The Untouchables” (1987), “Bugsy” (1991) and “Malena” (2000).
Tributes began pouring in for the maestro soon after his death was announced.
“We will remember forever and with infinite gratitude the artistic genius of maestro Ennio Morricone,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.
“He made us dream, he moved us and made us think, writing unforgettable notes that will remain forever in the history of music and cinema,” Conte said on Twitter.
Italian film actress Monica Bellucci said: “there are people who have the ability to make the world better because they know how to create beauty,” while Gilles Jacob, the former head of the Cannes film festival, described him as the “emperor” of film music.
Famed Italian conductor Riccardo Muti also paid homage, calling Morricone “a master for whom I nurtured friendship and admiration,” describing him as an “extraordinary musician” who could jump with ease from film scores to classical music.