Vangelis, whose instantly recognizable musical theme for 1981’s Chariots of Fire won an Oscar and became a sort of aural shorthand for tales of endurance and triumph, has died, according to published reports. He was 79.
His representatives told The Guardian that he died in a hospital in France where he was being treated for undisclosed causes.
Born Evangelos Odessey Papathanassiou in Greece, the composer and musician known worldwide simply as Vangelis, combined orchestral music, electronic synth sounds, jazz and ambient to create a then-new sound for the film that seemed to provide the musical equivalent of the ocean waves that crashed as the story’s Olympic runners sprinted down the beach.
Vangelis would go on to compose scores for Blade Runner, Missing, Antartica, The Bounty and Alexander, among other projects, but would remain most closely associated with the Chariots anthem. The theme, released as a single, reached the top of American Billboard Hot 100 chart, and has been used in countless sports presentations since, including the London 2012 Olympics ceremonies.