Celebrated movie composer James Horner has died in a plane crash in California, aged 61. The Oscar-winning musician wrote the scores for numerous box-office hits including "Titantic," "Avatar" and "A Beautiful Mind."
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Monday that a single engine Tucano MK1 crashed at 9:30 a.m. local time (1630 UTC) near Cuyama, California. Horner was the only passenger on board his private aircraft. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.
Tributes to the Hollywood composer poured in following the news of his untimely death, with many top actors and directors in the film and television world paying tribute to the Oscar-winner on social media websites.
Horner's personal assistant, Sylvia Patrycja wrote on Facebook: "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."
The late musician won two Oscars for his work on James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster "Titanic" - one for its theme song "My Heart Will Go On", performed by Celine Dion, and another for the film's score which sold 30 million copies worldwide.
Having started learning to play the piano at the age of five, Horner received his first big break in 1982 with the score for "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."
He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
ksb/bw (Reuters, AFP, dpa)