Vangelis, the Greek prog and new age musician who won an Oscar in 1982 for his Chariots of Fire score, died on Tuesday (5/17), according to Greek news site IN who report he died in a French hospital while being treated for Covid-19. He was 79.
Collaborator Philippe Colonna confirmed the news, writing "You were that one, unique, iconoclastic, generous, talented, adventurous, unpredictable and always unbreakable with a confident and unbreakable confidence in you. Your bright music will remain to heal my pain and accompany my loneliness because without you life will never be the same. Rest in peace my best friend." Read his full statement below.
Born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou in 1943 in Agria, Greece, Vangelis began playing music when he was four, and started playing in bands in the early '60s. He was a founding member of Greek prog greats Aphrodite's Child, whose 1972 album 666 is a classic. At the same time, he was already composing film scores, and that led to his work as a solo artist, where he became one of the leaders in the new age movement. His theme to Chariots of Fire not only won an Oscar but was a Number 1 hit in the US and many other countries, and his iconic scores for Blade Runner and PBS science series Cosmos remain hugely influential. Other Vangelis scores include Missing, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, and more.
Rest in peace, Vangelis. Your music lives on.