Ennio Morricone, the Italian composer whose haunting scores to Spaghetti Westerns like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly helped define a cinematic era, has died, his lawyer said on Monday.

He was 91. Morricone had broken his femur 10 days ago and died "at dawn" in a clinic in Rome, Giorgio Assumma told Reuters, confirming earlier reports by Italian news wire ANSA.

Composed Epic Scores for Classics

Born in Rome in 1928, Morricone wrote scores for some 400 films but his name was most closely linked with the director Sergio Leone, with whom he worked on the Spaghetti Westerns as well as epic crime drama Once Upon a Time in America.

Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone Wikimedia Commons

Morricone worked in almost all film genres — from horror to comedy — and some of his melodies are perhaps more famous than the films he wrote them for. "We will forever remember, with infinite gratitude, the artistic genius of Maestro Ennio Morricone. He made us dream, moved us ... writing memorable notes that will be unforgettable in the history of music and cinema," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Twitter.

Funeral A Private Family Affair

The composer's funeral will be a private affair "out of respect for the humility that inspired his whole life", Assumma said. Italian film producer Aurelio De Laurentiis said: "With Ennio Morricone goes a part of world cinema. His humility, combined with a greatness that he never flaunted, allowed him to support small and big movies, giving them a unique soul that made them perfect and unforgettable."

Morricone is survived by his wife Maria, his three sons Andrea, a composer and conductor, Giovanni and Marco and his daughter Alessandra. For his work in Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, Morricone won his first Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2019 at the 88th Academy Awards.