'Titanic' composer James Horner missing after his plane crashes

Celine Dion grieves for composer James Horner, whose plane crashed in Ventura County

Authorities continued to investigate the crash of a single-engine plane owned by Academy Award-winning composer James Horner, which went down Monday in the Los Padres National Forest near the border of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The crash, which killed the solo pilot, was reported shortly before 9:30 a.m. on Quatal Canyon Road, a remote stretch in national forest, said Ventura County Sheriff's Department Capt. John Reilly.

The crash of the single-engine S312 Tucano sparked a small brushfire that grew to about 2 acres, Reilly said. County fire crews doused the flames.

Horner has not been heard from since the crash, his longtime attorney told The Times on Monday. The attorney, Jay Cooper, told the Associated Press that Horner would have called if he was not piloting his plane.

There has been no official confirmation of the identity of the plane's pilot. Representatives for Horner have said they will make a statement at some point.

Still, fans and colleagues of the composer were expressing grief on social media, beginning with a post Monday by a woman who reportedly worked as Horner's assistant.

And a post Tuesday on an unofficial Facebook page devoted to Horner's music reads: 

"It is with profound grief that we concede the tragic reality that the unparalleled voice of James Horner has concluded its final coda and achieved its last silence. ...

"Our thoughts are ever with his family, his friends, his colleagues and peers who loved working with him, and the legions of fans worldwide who adored the rich tapestry of his art. ... Rest in peace, Maestro."

Singer Céline Dion issued a statement early Tuesday, remembering Horner on behalf of her and her husband, René Angelil.

"René and I are deeply saddened by the tragic death of James Horner. He will always remain a great composer in our hearts,” she said in the statement. “James played an important part in my career. We will miss him. We offer his family and friends our deepest sympathy."

Horner is widely considered one of the most successful film composers of all time. He won two Academy Awards for composing the music in "Titanic," one of them for Dion’s hit song “My Heart Will Go On,” which he co-wrote with Will Jennings.

Over a career spanning nearly four decades, Horner garnered several Academy Award nominations for his work on such critically acclaimed films as "Braveheart," "A Beautiful Mind," "Avatar," "Aliens" and "Apollo 13."

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said. 

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno and @JosephSerna.


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