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Ennio Morricone, best known for composing Sergio Leone’s legendary Westerns, dies aged 91

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Legendary composer Ennio Morricone, best known for his work across several decades in everything from Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, to The Thing, to Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, has died aged 91.

If you don’t know Morricone by name, you’ve almost certainly heard his work. The iconic scores featured in films such as Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and A Fistful of Dollars helped popularise the Western genre with its sparse, gritty soundtracks and tension-raising twangs. His compositions are legion, with the Italian composer having completed over 500 soundtracks and scores before his passing.

Some of the leading lights of film paid tribute to Morricone. Director Edgar Wright said on Twitter, “Where to even begin with iconic composer Ennio Morricone? He could make an average movie into a must see, a good movie into art, and a great movie into legend. He hasn't been off my stereo my entire life.”

Speaking to the BBC, Hans Zimmer reflected on Morricone’s legacy, saying, “Ennio was an icon and icons don’t just go away.”

Morricone’s far-reaching influence even extended to the world of video games. The likes of Red Dead Redemption have inarguably been impacted by Morricone’s work, while Hideo Kojima – who used the song “Here’s To You” by the composer in Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes – expressed his shock at Morricone’s death.

While Morricone may not have received as many Oscars as he perhaps deserved, netting just the one for his work on The Hateful Eight and being nominated on five other occasions, his legacy will surely live on for years to come.

GamesRadar+'s Entertainment Writer. Lover of all things Nintendo, in a tortured love/hate relationship with Crystal Palace, and also possesses an unhealthy knowledge of The Simpsons (which is of no use at parties).