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Tributes paid to Oscar-winner Horner after fatal plane crash

Hollywood director Ron Howard has led tributes to Oscar-winning Titanic composer James Horner, who has died at the age of 61.

According to reports, Horner was killed when his two-seater single-engine plane crashed in southern California.

Howard wrote on Twitter: "Brilliant Composer James Horner, friend & collaborator on 7 movies has tragically died in a plane crash. My heart aches for his loved ones."

The Hollywood Reporter said Horner's personal assistant, Sylvia Patrycja, confirmed the news on her Facebook page.

She wrote: "A great tragedy has struck my family today. I would like some privacy and time to heal. We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart, and unbelievable talent. Love Sylvia."

Horner won two Academy Awards for his work on Titanic, one for the score and one for best original song - My Heart Will Go On, performed by Celine Dion.

Horner also composed the music for Aliens, The Karate Kid, Braveheart and a string of other major films. His scores for Avatar, A Beautiful Mind and House of Sand and Fog earned Oscar nominations.

A Ventura County fire spokesman confirmed that a plane registered to Horner had crashed, that the pilot had died and no-one else was on board.

Actor Russell Crowe paid tribute to him, writing: "My sincere condolences to the family, loved ones and friends of James Horner."

American composer Steve Jablonsky tweeted: "James Horner, thank you for inspiring a young me to pursue a career in film music. Thank you for your music. Rest in peace."