Vangelis, composer of Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner soundtracks, dies aged 79

Vangelis, the Greek composer and musician whose synth-driven work added enormous drama to cinema soundtracks

Such as Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire, died at the age of 79.

His representatives stated that he died while being treated in a hospital in France.

Vangelis was born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassou in 1943 and won an Academy Award for his Chariots of Fire soundtrack in 1981.

Its uplifting piano motif became world-renowned, and reached No 1 in the US charts, as did the accompanying soundtrack album.

Mostly self-taught in music, Vangelis grew up in Athens and formed his first band in 1963, called the Forminx

Uptempo rock'n'roll, sweeping ballads, and Beatles cover versions were performed, with Vangelis providing organ lines.

They broke up in 1966, and Vangelis went on to work as a freelance writer and producer for other singers, as well as producing scores to Greek films.

He moved to Paris to develop his career two years later, where he created the prog rock quintet Aphrodite's Child with Greek expats including Demis Roussos.

Their single Rain and Tears was a hit across Europe, topping the French, Belgian and Italian charts and reaching the UK Top 30.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was among many who paid tribute to Vangelis, hailing him as "a pioneer of electronic sound."