Oscar-winning Love Story composer Francis Lai dies at 86

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Francis Lai has died at the age of 86

Oscar-winning French composer Francis Lai has died at the age of 86.

He was best-known for winning the prize for composing the memorable piano theme to the 1970 film Love Story.

Crooner Andy Williams also released (Where Do I Begin?) Love Story in 1971, which was a hit single, peaking at number nine in the US chart.

Lai also wrote the score for the 1966 film A Man and a Woman, with one song later chosen as BBC's Panorama's dramatic theme music.

He was born in Nice and played the accordion and piano, bug moved to Paris in his 20s, where he became accompanist for French singer Edith Piaf.

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Lai then went on to collaborate many times with A Man and a Woman director Claude Lelouch, composing music for him for nearly 40 projects.

These included Edith and Marcel in 1983, A Man and a Woman, 20 Years Later in 1986 and their final film together, last year's Everyone's Life.

The news of his death was reposted by Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who did not reveal the cause.

"It is with great sadness that I learn of the death of Francis Lai, this great composer from Nice," Estrosi told local press.

"I will soon propose to his family to give his name to an emblematic place of our city," added former president of the Cannes Film Festival, Gilles Jacob.

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