It’s a big name in music that is gone. Greek composer Vangelis Papathanassiou, who notably worked on Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, has died at the age of 79, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced Thursday evening. “Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us,” the prime minister tweeted. “The music world has lost (artist) international Vangelis,” his tweet added.
A pioneer of electronic music, this autodidact had found his inspiration in space exploration, nature, futuristic architecture, the New Testament and the student movement of May 68. His soundtrack for Chariots of Fire won an Oscar against the music by John Williams made for the first Indiana Jones film, in 1982.
“It is with great sadness that we announce that the great Greek Vangelis Papathanassiou passed away late on the night of Tuesday, May 17,” his lawyer also announced, as quoted by the Greek news agency ANA on Thursday. According to several Greek media, Vangelis died of the coronavirus in France, where he shared his time with London and Athens.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis also pointed out that Vangelis’ middle name was Odysseus. “For us Greeks, this means that he began his great journey on chariots of fire. From there he will always send us his notes,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted again. Among the dozen soundtracks he has composed are those for the Costa-Gavras film Missing, Roman Polanski’s Lunes de fiel and Oliver Stone’s Alexander.