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Vangelis, the Oscar-winning composer of 'Chariots of Fire', dies aged 79


Vangelis, the critically acclaimed Greek composer, has passed away at the age of 79.

A synthesizer pioneer, composing landmark film scores like Blade Runner and winning an Oscar for his work composing for Chariots of Fire, Vangelis is revered as one of the greatest to ever live.

In addition to his accomplishments as an Oscar-winning composer, Vangelis was also nominated for three Grammy awards throughout his lifetime, both in the category for ‘Best New Age Album’ and for ‘Record of the Year’ for his work on Chariots of Fire. The 1981 film was what helped surge him into wider success after working on a variety of film scores before it. The movie soundtrack even reached number one on the Billboard charts.

Vangelis was a supremely gifted musician, making a habit of playing all of his own instrumentals, including synthesizer, piano, drums and percussion — something he exhibited to perfection during his work on Chariots of Fire, as well as many of his other projects. 

His career leading up to composition was a wild one. Born and raised in Greece, Vangelis began playing music at the age of six, and eventually went on to have a career in European pop music, serving as a member of the progressive rock band Aphrodite’s Child in Paris. However, throughout the 1970s, he began to embark on his solo albums, which caught the attention of television and film executives, shifting him to a career in composition. His use of electronics and synthesizers was unique, and set him apart as a solo artist and a pioneer in the industry.

Although his cause of death and details have yet to be revealed, it’s been confirmed that he passed away while in a hospital in France. With tributes pouring in from around the globe, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis led the way when he hailed the composer as “a pioneer of electronic sound”.

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