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evangelos odysseas papathanassiou

Greek composer Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, known professionally as Vangelis, has died at the age of 79.

Vangelis won an Oscar for the stirring score to 1981’s Chariots of Fire, which was followed by Blade Runner a year later.

Vangelis’s Chariots of Fire theme famously accompanied shots of athletes running along the beach in St Andrews, Scotland, at the start of the film, which was set before the 1924 Olympics.

It went to number one in the US, and later topped the UK’s classical singles chart in 2012 after being performed by Mr. Bean at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

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Vangelis’ other film credits included The Bounty, Francesco, Bitter Moon, 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Alexander.

The composer once said: “My interest was not to create a symphony orchestra, which I can very easily, but to go further than that and do things that the symphony orchestra can’t do.

“And I think that I succeeded to create something like this.”

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted: “Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us. The world of music has lost the international (artist) Vangelis.”

Vangelis first tasted fame as the keyboardist in the band Aphrodite’s Child with singer Demis Roussos in the late 1960s.

He went on to be an acclaimed and groundbreaking electronic solo artist beyond his work in film, making his most recent albums with record company, Decca Label Group.

Its presidents Tom Lewis and Laura Monks said: “The world has lost a genius. Vangelis created music of extraordinary originality and power, and provided the soundtrack to so many of our lives.

“We will miss him enormously. His music will live on forever.”