Titanic and Braveheart composer James Horner has died in a plane crash near Santa Barbara aged 61.
James Horner’s death was confirmed by Sylvia Patrycja, who is identified on the composer’s film music page as his assistant.
“We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent,” Sylvia Patrycja wrote on Facebook on June 22.
“He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road.”
James Horner is reported to have been alone aboard a two-seater single-engine plane which crashed about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara on Monday morning.
The two-time Oscar winner worked on three James Cameron films, as well as A Beautiful Mind, Troy and Apollo 13.
James Horner won one Oscar for James Cameron’s Titanic film score and one for its theme song.
His score for Titanic sold a whopping 27 million copies worldwide.
James Horner’s fruitful partnership with James Cameron also netted him Oscar nominations for original score for the blockbusters Aliens (1986) and Avatar (2009). The pair reportedly were also at work on Avatar sequels.
After seven years of investigation, auctioneers found out that the violin thought to be the one played by the band leader of the Titanic as it sank is genuine.
Wallace Hartley and his orchestra famously played on as the Titanic sank in 1912 and were among the 1,500 who died.
In 2006, Titanic specialist auction house Henry Aldridge and Son in Wiltshire were approached by the violin’s owner who wanted to sell it.
Experts commissioned by the auction house confirmed it was Wallace Hartley’s.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said they had spent the last seven years gathering the evidence and were confident that “beyond reasonable doubt this was Wallace Hartley’s violin”.
“When we first saw the violin we had to keep a lid on our excitement because it was almost as if it was too good to be true,” Andrew Aldridge said.
“The silver fish plate on the violin along with the other items it was with suggested it was either authentic or an extremely elaborate hoax.
“Everything needed to be researched properly and the correct experts had to be commissioned.”
The tests were carried out by a range of specialists including the UK’s Forensic Science Service which concluded the “corrosion deposits on it were considered compatible with immersion in sea water”.
After seven years of investigation, auctioneers found out that the violin thought to be the one played by the band leader of the Titanic as it sank is genuine
Wallace Hartley’s body was recovered about 10 days after the doomed liner sank but the violin was not listed among the inventory of items found with him.Several newspaper reports from the time said he had been found “fully dressed with his violin strapped to his body”.
There have been various theories about what happened to the instrument which range from it floating away to being stolen by someone involved in handling the bodies of the deceased.
A violin was returned to Wallace Hartley’s fiancée Maria Robinson, in Bridlington in East Yorkshire, and a transcript of a telegram dated 19 July 1912 to Canada’s Provincial of Nova Scotia was found in her diary.
It said: “I would be most grateful if you could convey my heartfelt thanks to all who have made possible the return of my late fiancé’s violin.”
Craig Sopin, 55, who lives in Philadelphia, US, and owns one of the world’s largest collections of Titanic memorabilia, said: “Popular belief is that the violin was lost or ferreted away but sometimes miracles happen and it has here.
“As far as Titanic memorabilia is concerned it is the most important piece that has ever come up and that includes artefacts recovered from the seabed such as the crow’s nest bell.”
The violin, thought to be worth a six-figure sum, is the property of an unidentified individual in Lancashire, UK.
The instrument is due to go on display at the Belfast City Hall in April, but no date has yet been set to auction it.
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