Jóhann Jóhannsson, renowned Icelandic electronic musician and producer, who won a Golden Globe for his score to the 2014 Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything, was found dead in Berlin on Friday, 9 February. He was 48 years of age. His manager Tim Husom confirmed the death for Variety. However, no cause of death has been revealed at the time of writing.
“It is with profound sadness that we confirm the passing of our dear friend Jóhann,” Redbird Music Management wrote in a statement on Jóhannsson’s Facebook page. “We have lost one of the most talented and brilliant people who we had the privilege of knowing and working with. May his music continue to inspire us.”
Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, Jóhannsson began his career as an indie rocker and experimental electronic musician before releasing his first album, Englabörn, in 2002. Over the next 15 years, Jóhannsson balanced his own work – including 2004’s IBM 1401, A User’s Manual, a tribute to his father who worked for the computer giant – with compositional work for films, television (including Netflix’s sci-fi series The OA) and theatre. Jóhannsson’s final LP Orphée was named one of Rolling Stone’s 20 Best Avant Albums of 2016.
Jóhannsson’s ascension in Hollywood mirrored that of director and frequent collaborator Denis Villeneuve, who recruited the composer to score 2013’s Prisoners, 2015’s Sicario and 2016’s Arrival. Jóhannsson also worked on Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 but was replaced by Hans Zimmer.
One of cinema’s most acclaimed composers of the past decade, Jóhannsson earned a pair of Best Original Score Academy Award nominations for 2014’s The Theory of Everything and his influential work on 2015’s Sicario. Aside from winning Golden Globe for The Theory of Everything score, Jóhannsson also scored a Grammy nomination for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
Less than two weeks ago, Jóhannsson performed at Barcelona’s Auditoril; the composer was also scheduled to appear at the city’s Primavera Sound festival this summer. Prior to his death, Jóhannsson also provided scores for the Nicolas Cage Sundance hit Mandy, James Marsh’s The Mercy and the upcoming biblical drama Mary Magdalene.
Tributes to the composer have already started to pour in. Deutsche Grammophon, Jóhannsson’s label since 2016, tweeted: “The team at Deutsche Grammophon are in deep mourning over the loss of our friend, Jóhann Jóhannsson. In the three years of our close collaboration, a true friendship had grown. The power of his music will live on and continue to touch us. ”
Broadcaster Edith Bowman wrote on Twitter: “This is just the saddest of news. RIP Johann, your vision and creations will eternally inspire and influence me. Love and thoughts to all family and friends.”