ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Vangelis, the Greek digital composer who wrote the unforgettable Academy Award-winning rating for the movie “Chariots of Hearth” and music for dozens of different films, documentaries and TV sequence, has died at 79.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and different authorities officers expressed their condolences Thursday. Greek media reported that Vangelis — born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou — died in a French hospital late Tuesday.

“Vangelis Papathanassiou is not amongst us,” Mitsotakis tweeted, calling him an “digital sound trailblazer” whose demise is “unhappy information for the whole world.”

The opening credit of “Chariots of Hearth” roll as a bunch of younger runners progress in sluggish movement throughout a glum seaside in Scotland, as a lazy, beat-backed tune rises to a magisterial declamation. It’s one of the vital immediately recognizable musical themes in cinema — and its standing in widespread tradition has solely been confirmed by the host of spoofs it has sired.

The 1981 British movie made Vangelis, however his preliminary encounter with success got here together with his first Greek pop band within the Nineteen Sixties.

He developed right into a one-man quasi-classical orchestra, utilizing an enormous array of digital tools to conjure up his enormously widespread undulating waves of sound. A non-public, humorous man — burly, with shoulder-length hair and a trim beard — he quoted historic Greek philosophy and noticed the artist as a conduit for a primary common power. He was fascinated by area exploration and wrote music for celestial our bodies, however mentioned he by no means sought stardom himself.

Nonetheless, a micro-planet spinning someplace between Mars and Jupiter — 6354 Vangelis — will eternally bear his title.

Born on March 29, 1943 close to the town of Volos in central Greece, Vangelis began taking part in the piano at age 4, though he obtained no formal coaching and claimed he by no means discovered to learn notes.

“Orchestration, composition — they educate this stuff in music faculties, however there are some issues you possibly can by no means educate,” he mentioned in a 1982 interview. “You possibly can’t educate creation.”

At 20, Vangelis and three buddies fashioned the Forminx band in Athens, which did very effectively in Greece. After it disbanded, he wrote scores for a number of Greek movies and later turned a founding member — along with one other later-to-be internationally well-known Greek musician, Demis Roussos — of Aphrodite’s Little one. Primarily based in Paris, the progressive rock group produced a number of European hits, and their closing document “666,” launched in 1972, remains to be extremely acclaimed.

Aphrodite’s Little one additionally broke up, and Vangelis pursued solo tasks. In 1974, he moved to London, constructed his personal studio and cooperated with Sure frontman Jon Anderson, with whom he recorded as Jon and Vangelis and had a number of main hits.

However his enormous breakthrough got here with the rating for “Chariots of Hearth” that informed the true story of two British runners competing within the 1924 Summer time Olympics in Paris. Vangelis’ rating received one of many 4 Academy Awards the movie captured, together with finest image. The signature piece is among the hardest-to-forget film tunes worldwide — and has additionally served because the musical background to limitless slow-motion parodies.

Vangelis later wrote music scores for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982) and “1492: Conquest of Paradise” (1992), in addition to for “Lacking” (1982) and “Antarctica” (1983), amongst others.

He refused many different gives for movie scores, saying in an interview: “Half of the movies I see don’t want music. It feels like one thing stuffed in.”

Vangelis was cautious of how document corporations dealt with business success. With success, he mentioned, “you end up caught and obliged to repeat your self and your earlier success.”

His curiosity in science — together with the physics of music and sound — and area exploration led to compositions linked with main NASA and European House Company tasks. When British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died in 2018, Vangelis composed a musical tribute for his interment that the ESA broadcast into area.

Vangelis introduced forth his symphonic swells taking part in alone on a financial institution of synthesizers, whereas flipping switches as his ft darted from one quantity pedal to a different.

“I work like an athlete,” he as soon as mentioned.

He prevented the life-style excesses related to many within the music trade, saying that he by no means took medicine — “which was very uncomfortable, at occasions.”

Vangelis mentioned he didn’t ever experiment together with his music and normally did every little thing on the primary take.

“Once I compose, I carry out the music on the identical time, so every little thing is reside, nothing is pre-programmed,” he mentioned.

Decca, the document label for his final three albums, known as the composer “a genius.”

“Vangelis created music of extraordinary originality and energy, and offered the soundtrack to so lots of our lives,” it mentioned. “Decca had the pleasure of partnering with Vangelis and his crew for his previous three albums and we are going to miss him enormously. His music will reside on eternally.”

The composer lived in London, Paris and Athens, the place he purchased a home on the foot of the Acropolis that he by no means dolled up, even when his road turned one of the vital fascinating pedestrian walks on the town. The neoclassical constructing was almost demolished in 2007 when authorities officers determined that it spoilt the view of the traditional citadel from a brand new museum constructed subsequent door, however finally reconsidered.

Vangelis obtained many awards in Greece, France and the U.S. Little was identified of his private life in addition to that he was an avid painter.

“On daily basis I paint and day-after-day I compose music,” he mentioned — in that order.

John Leicester in Paris contributed.