Vangelis, the Greek composer and musician whose synth-driven work brought huge drama to film soundtracks including Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, has died aged 79. His representatives said he died in hospital in France where he was being treated.
Born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou in 1943, Vangelis won an Oscar for his 1981 Chariots of Fire soundtrack. Its uplifting piano motif became world-renowned, and reached No 1 in the US charts, as did the accompanying soundtrack album.
Tears in the Rain
Vangelis’s Chariots of Fire theme famously accompanied shots of athletes running along the beach in St Andrews, Scotland, at the start of the film, which was set before the 1924 Olympics.
It went to number one in the US, and later topped the UK’s classical singles chart in 2012 after being performed by Mr Bean at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games.
Charles de Lauzirika, who produced the 1982 Blade Runner, said: “His music, not just in Blade Runner, was otherworldly in beautiful and haunting ways I lack the words to describe. “He created lush dream states I still love getting lost in.”
“Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us. For the whole world, this sad news demonstrates that the world music scene has lost the international ‘Vangelis,’ the protagonist of electronic sound, of the Oscars, of Mythology and the hits,” Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted, as translated by Rolling Stone. “For us Greeks, who know his second name was Odysseus, it means that he’s begun his long trip to the Chariots of Fire. From there, he’ll always send us his notes.”