ROME: Ennio Morricone, one of the world’s best-known and most prolific composers of film scores notably for spaghetti westerns, died in Rome on Monday at the age of 91.

Tributes poured in for the man who composed the music for about 500 films, including his old childhood friend Sergio Leone’s 1966 epic “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” for which he finally won an Oscar in 2016.

Morricone died in hospital where he was being treated for a fractured femur following a fall, according to a statement from lawyer and family friend Giorgio Assuma. Morricone “passed away in the early hours of July 6 with the comfort of his faith”, the statement said.

He remained “fully lucid and with great dignity right until the end,” it added.

Tributes began pouring in for the maestro soon after his death was announced.

“We will remember forever and with infinite gratitude the artistic genius of maestro Ennio Morricone,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. “He made us dream, he moved us and made us think, writing unforgettable notes that will remain forever in the history of music and cinema,” he said on Twitter.

Italian film actress Monica Bellucci said of Morricone that “there are people who have the ability to make the world better because they know how to create beauty,” while Gilles Jacob, the former head of the Cannes film festival, described him as the “emperor” of film music.

Famed Italian conductor Riccardo Muti called Morricone “a master for whom I nurtured friendship and admiration,” describing him as an “extraordinary musician” who could jump with ease from film scores to classical music.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2020