Rome (AFP)

Author of hundreds of film scores and Oscar-winning double, the famous Italian maestro Ennio Morricone, renowned for the soundtracks of spaghetti westerns, died Monday at dawn in Rome.

The composer died at the age of 91 in a clinic in the Italian capital where he was hospitalized following a fall which caused a fracture of the femur.

Morricone had created more than 500 musics for the cinema, with melodies as legendary as that of the film "The good, the bad and the ugly" (1966).

His most memorable composition will undoubtedly remain the haunting harmonica air played by Charles Bronson in "Il est une fois dans l'Ouest" (1968).

Ennio Morricone "died at dawn with the comfort of faith," said a statement from lawyer and family friend Giorgio Assumma.

"He remained fully lucid and very dignified until the last moment," said the press release.

The death of one of the most famous Italians in the world has provoked many reactions.

"We will remember forever and with infinite gratitude the artistic genius of maestro Ennio Morricone. He made us dream, he moved us and made us think, writing unforgettable notes that will forever remain in the history of music and of the cinema ", reacted on Twitter the head of the Italian government Giuseppe Conte.

"Farewell maestro and thank you for the emotions you offered us," commented on Twitter Roberto Speranza, Minister of Health.

The homage of the Italian political class was unanimous, from the left to the extreme right and a deputy immediately proposed to give his name to a street in Rome.

"Ennio Morricone the emperor of music in the cinema, a harmonica, rhythms, melodies, unexpected instruments, trills, 3 easy-to-remember notes, the lavishness of his scores", reacted on Twitter Gilles Jacob, former director of the festival of Cannes cinema.

"So sad for the disappearance of the immense Ennio Morricone. The little Toto of Cinéma Paradiso and all the lovers of the composer are upset today", commented for his part the French violinist Renaud Capuçon.

- important concerts -

For this demanding musician, concerts were also important to fully appreciate his compositions.

"Because in the cinema, you cannot listen to the music carefully, there are the dialogues, the noises, the special effects, all this distracts the audience. However, the music must be listened to and the concerts allow the audience to listen my music, only my music, "he explained to AFP in 2017 in the studio he set up in his large Roman apartment.

From the age of six, Ennio Morricone, born November 10, 1928 in Rome, began to compose. At ten, he enrolled in the trumpet course of the prestigious National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome.

He also studies composition, orchestration, organ and is introduced to serial music.

After having started with "serious" music, he started in 1961 at the age of 33 in the cinema with "Mission ultra-secrète" by Luciano Salce.

The celebrity arrives with "For a handful of dollars" (1964) by Sergio Leone. His fruitful collaboration with the master of the spaghetti western brings him an international reputation.

But Morricone is not confined to the western. This Roman composes soundtracks for period films such as "1900" or "Vatel", comedies such as "La cage aux folles" and sets committed films to music: "Sacco and Vanzetti" ("Here's to You" sung by Joan Baez), "The working class goes to paradise" or "The battle of Algiers".

© 2020 AFP