Italian composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91 in Rome, Italy. The news of his death was confirmed by his lawyer Giorgio Assumma (via Entertainment Weekly). According to Assumma, Morricone had been hospitalized since last week after falling and fracturing his leg.

Morricone is a renowned and award-winning composer in the entertainment industry, especially for his music in spaghetti westerns and over 500 movies throughout his illustrious career.

He composed music for iconic and legendary movies like 1964’s A Fistful Of Dollars, 1966’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, 1987’s The Untouchables, and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in 2015, for which he finally won an Oscar. The last ever movie he worked on before his death was 2016’s The Correspondence, starring Jeremy Irons and Olga Kurylenko.

One of his most iconic western songs remains this, even after half a century:

It would be an understatement to say that he was extremely influential in shaping the music for the western genre, so much so that they’re now simply associated directly with each other. The late Morricone’s music even transcended movies and TV shows to inspire the music of video games like Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2.

In a 2001 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Morricone said that he peaked with 1984’s Once Upon A Time In America; an epic crime drama film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Robert De Niro and James Woods.

He said:

“Most of these scores were very ugly, and I believed I could do better.

After the war, the film industry was quite strong here in Italy… but these new realistic movies didn’t have great music.

I needed money, and I thought it would be a good thing to write film scores.

Gradually over time, he as a director and me as a composer, we improved and reached our best, in my opinion, in Once Upon a Time in America.”

Rest in peace, Ennio Morricone. As a tribute to the legend, let’s take a moment and listen to his Once Upon A Time In America main theme below.


 

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