Italy's Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone dies at 91

Morricone worked with the most renowned directors during a career that earned him an Oscar for lifetime achievement.

    Morricone produced more than 400 original scores for feature films [File: Michael Sohn/AP Photo]
    Morricone produced more than 400 original scores for feature films [File: Michael Sohn/AP Photo]

    Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who created the coyote-howl theme for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and the soundtracks for classic Hollywood gangster movies including The Untouchables, has died at the age of 91.

    Giorgio Assumma, Morricone's longtime lawyer, said the Maestro, as he was known, died early on Monday in a Rome hospital of complications following a fall, in which he broke a leg.

    He remained "fully lucid and with great dignity right until the end" and said goodbye to "his beloved wife Maria", the statement said.

    Morricone's funeral will be "strictly private," Assumma said, without mentioning a date. 

    Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote on Twitter: "Adieu maestro, and thank you for the emotions you gave us."

    Lifetime achievements

    During a career that spanned decades and earned him an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2007, Morricone collaborated with some of the most renowned Italian and Hollywood directors.

    He worked on movies including The Untouchables by Brian de Palma, The Hateful Eight by Quentin Tarantino and The Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo.

    The Tarantino film would also win him the Oscar for best original score in 2016.

    In accepting that Academy Award, Morricone told the audience at the ceremony: "There is no great music without a great film that inspires it." 

    In total, he produced more than 400 original scores for feature films. 

    So-called Spaghetti Western movies saw him work closely with the late Italian film director Sergio Leone. 

    Morricone was known for crafting just a few notes, that he played on a harmonica in Leone's Once Upon A Time in America, which would be instantly associated with that film.

    Composer Ennio Morricone of Italy holds his BAFTA on stage at the 02 Arena in London
    Morricone holds his BAFTA award on stage at the 02 Arena in London, February 16, 2016 [Dylan Martinez/Reuters]

    SOURCE: News agencies