Antoine Fuqua’s sports film ‘Southpaw’ revolves around Billy “The Great” Hope, the Light Heavyweight champion whose life takes a drastic turn when his wife Maureen Hope dies. Billy seeks comfort in alcohol and drugs, only to lose the custody of his daughter Leila. Upon losing the only family member he has, Billy realizes he has to regain his life. He gets trained by Titus “Tick” Wills, who helps the boxer to get back into the ring. After the highly affecting and inspirational climax of the boxing film, tribute is paid to James Horner, the composer of the film’s score.
A two-time Academy Award winner, Horner was one of the best music composers of his time, having composed the original background score for many monumental films. Horner is best known for his collaboration with James Cameron for ‘Titanic,’ ‘Avatar,’ and ‘Aliens.’ He is also the composer of globally renowned films such as ‘Braveheart,’ ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘Glory,’ ‘Field of Dreams,’ etc. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for ‘Titanic’ and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the famed song titled “My Heart Will Go On.” Since the film is dedicated to Horner, one must be wondering how exactly did he die. Well, let us share the answer!
How Did James Horner Die?
James Horner died on June 22, 2015, at the age of 61, in a plane crash. The musician’s single-engine S312 Tucano turboprop plane crashed into the Los Padres National Forest, near the unincorporated community of Ventucopa, in the state of California. Horner was the only person in the plane at the time of the crash. The same occurred after the plane was fueled at Camarillo Airport. On June 25, 2015, Ventura County Deputy Medical Examiner Zeb Dunn concluded that the cause of death is blunt force trauma. As per reports, the crash is officially concluded as an accident. The musician was survived by his wife Sara Elizabeth Horner and two daughters.
According to the post-accident investigation of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the crash happened during “maneuvering-low-altitude flying.” Upon reviewing the radar, the investigators noticed “multiple turns, rapid changes in altitude, and airspeed.” “It is with the deepest regret and sorrow that we mourn the tragic passing of our dear colleague, a long-time client and great friend, composer James Horner,” Horner’s agency Gorfaine/Schwartz shared in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with James’ family at this difficult time, and also with the millions of people around the world who loved his music. A shining light has been extinguished, which can never be replaced,” the statement further read.
‘Southpaw’ was one of Horner’s posthumous releases. At the time of his death, Horner was working on another Antoine Fuqua film, ‘The Magnificent Seven.’ The musician composed seven songs for the film only by reading the film’s script. “He [Horner] left us seven songs [for ‘The Magnificent Seven’], which he did from the script. I played them (the songs) on the set when there were tough days,” Fuqua said while attending the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016. The rest of the score for ‘The Magnificent Seven’ was completed by Horner’s friend and fellow musician Simon Franglen.
“James Horner was an amazing artist. He was one of the most incredible people I have ever met. But he was very gentle, loving father, and he was a great friend. This movie [‘The Magnificent Seven’] probably wouldn’t have happened without James,” Fuqua said about his relationship with the late composer in a press conference. “James is an amazing human being,” the director added.