Vangelis, Greek composer of Chariots of Fire, died at 79

Vangelis, the Greek-born electronic composer who wrote the Academy Award-winning score for the film chariots of fire and the music for dozens of other films, documentaries and television series, has passed away. He was 79 years old.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and other government officials expressed condolences on Thursday. “Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us,” Mitsotakis tweeted.

Greek media reported that Vangelis died in a French hospital on Wednesday.

Born Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou on March 29, 1943, near the city of Volos in central Greece, Vangelis began playing the piano at the age of four, although he had received no formal training and had claimed that he had never learned to read notes.

WATCH | The iconic theme song of chariots of fire:

He played in several bands and had a solo career, but his huge breakthrough came with the score of chariots of firea 1981 film that tells the story of two British racers in the 1920s. Vangelis’ score received one of four Oscars won by the film.

The signature track is one of the world’s hardest-to-forget movie melodies – and has also served as the musical background for countless slow-motion parodies.