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Wojciech Kilar Dead: Polish Composer Dies At 81

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The Wroclaw Philharmonic performing American premiere of Wojciech Kilar's 'Missa Pro Pace' at St. Patrick Cathedral on Saturday night, April 23, 2005.This image:Mariusz Smolij conducting the Wroclaw Philharmonic in Wojciech Kilar's 'Missa Pro Pace.' (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images) | Hiroyuki Ito via Getty Images

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Wojciech Kilar, a Polish pianist and composer of classical music and scores for many films, including Roman Polanski's Oscar-winning "The Pianist" and Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula," has died. He was 81.

The composer died Sunday in his hometown of Katowice, southern Poland, following a long illness, according to Jerzy Kornowicz, head of the Association of Polish Composers.

Kornowicz said, "The power and the message of his music, as well as the noble character of Wojciech Kilar as a person, will stay in my memory forever."

Kilar's main love was composing symphonies and concertos, and he always put that above movies, even though he wrote the scores of dozens of films. He drew inspiration from Polish folk music and religious prayers and hymns.