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Vangelis, Blade Runner composer and synth pioneer, dies, aged 79

The legendary Greek musician also soundtracked films such as Chariots Of Fire and Alexander

Vangelis, Blade Runner composer and synth pioneer, dies, aged 79

Greek composer and synth pioneer Vangelis died this week at the age of 79.

A report by the Associated Press confirmed the news, though his cause of death has not been disclosed. The musician, real name Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou, passed away at a French hospital on Tuesday, 17th May.

Papathanassíou was known widely as the legendary composer behind famed synth-driven scores for films such as Blade Runner, Alexander and Chariots Of Fire. He won an Oscar for his work on the latter film in 1992.

His music career started in a number of rock bands, most notably forming part of the progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child, who broke up shortly after the release of their 1972 classic '666'. Around this time, he began soundtracking films, and also set out on a prolific solo career centred around his evocative synth-based compositions.

Papathanassíou released more than 20 solo studio albums across his career, in addition to his extensive work on scoring films. The records were released through major labels such as RCA and Polydor, as well as on large independent labels like Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. The latter released his most recent album, 'Juno To Jupiter', last year.

In a Twitter tribute to the artist, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described Vangelis as "the protagonist of electronic sound".

Listen to Vangelis' 'Main Theme' for the 'Blade Runner' soundtrack below, where you can also find a number of musicians' tributes to the late artist. Vangelis' soundtrack to Blade Runner featured in DJ Mag's recent feature on the best electronic music film scores.