Oscar-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. Morricone died at a hospital in Rome after falling and breaking his leg, Giorgio Assumma, his lawyer, confirmed in a statement to CNN on Monday.
Born in Rome in 1928, Morricone had an early introduction to and love for music. First picking up the trumpet as his first instrument, Morricone began writing music at the age of 6, something that would lead to a decades-long career in which he would score more than 500 films and earn an array of awards. In the 1960s, Morricone joined a collective called Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, later telling NPR that he "started telling them to do kind of a sound like groans or very strange sounds, and I started conducting them."
In the years that would follow, Morricone would go on to have one of the most celebrated film-scoring careers of all time, beginning with 1961's Il Federale, which was later followed by a number of Westerns including A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West. He was also well known for scoring the likes of The Battle of Algiers, Brian de Palma's take on 1930s gangsters, The Untouchables, The Mission, and a number of others. He earned Oscar nominations for his original scores for Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), Roland Joffe's The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Barry Levinson's Bugsy (1991), and Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena (2000), and in 2016, he won the best original score for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. In 2007, he was presented with an honorary Oscar.
He was remembered as an "artistic genius" by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who reacted to Morricone's passing on Twitter. Conte wrote that Morricone "made us dream, move, reflect, writing memorable notes that will remain unforgettable in the history of music and cinema." In his own statement, Italian President Sergio Mattarella said that Morricone was "both a refined and popular musician, he has left a deep mark in the history of music in the second part of the 20th century." He added that Morricone "has greatly contributed in spreading and reinforcing Italy's prestige around the world."
Morricone requested a private funeral, He is survived by his wife Maria Travia, whom he married in 1956, as well as their four children, Marco, Alessandra, Andrea and Giovanni..