Italian film composer Ennio Morricone, one of the world’s most famous screen composers whose pre-eminent scores for Spaghetti Westerns like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly helped cement the genre, died on Monday aged 91.
Morricone died in a clinic in Rome after suffering a broken femur days ago, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Born on November 10 1928, the composer was famous for his close alliance with Italian film director and former schoolmate Sergio Leone, widely credited as creating the Spaghetti Western genre that helped catapult actor Clint Eastwood’s career in the 1960s.
Morricone wrote some 400 scores across films, not just in the Spaghetti Western Genre, but also dramas like 1988’s Cinema Paradiso and, more recently, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, for which he won an Oscar for best original music score.
The composer, who started life as a jazz trumpeter before creating music for radio shows, also created scores for TV shows, and collected dozens of awards, including Grammys and Golden Globes.
His style famously incorporated sounds from a range of unconventional instruments, and his work became a Hollywood hit, despite the composer choosing to stay, live and work in Italy throughout his career.
70 million. That’s how many records Morricone had sold by 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Morricone’s lawyer, Giorgio Assumma, said in a statement, reported by ANSA: “He said goodbye to his beloved wife Maria, who accompanied him with dedication in every moment of his human and professional life and was close to him until his final breath, and thanked his children and grandchildren for the love and care they have given him. He gave a touching remembrance to his audience, whose affectionate support always enabled him to draw strength for his creativity.”
Tributes to Morricone poured in from around the world, including from directors and fellow composers.
Japanese video game producer Hideo Kojima tweeted: “Shocked to know Ennio Morricone has passed away…RIP.”
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted: “We will always remember, with infinite gratitude, the artistic genius of the Maestro #EnnioMorricone.” Italy’s President, Sergio Matterella, said Morricone “left a profound mark on the musical history of the second half of the twentieth century.”
Composer Hans Zimmer called Morricone an “icon,” adding: “His music was always outstanding, and done with great emotional fortitude and great intellectual thought.”
Screenwriter Christopher Robert Cargill wrote: “Ennio Morricone. You always know when it’s a Morricone score, even before you see his name. With just a few notes he evokes images of a whole genre. There aren’t any others like him. One of the titans is gone.”