Updated: 12pm

Composer John Barry, one of York's most famous sons, has died at the age of 77.

The musician was most renowned for his work on 11 James Bond films, Born Free, and Midnight Cowboy.

He died of a heart attack, having been ill for some time.

A statement released by his family said: "It is with great sadness that the family of composer John Barry announce his passing on the 30th of January 2011 in New York.

"Mr Barry is survived by his wife of 33 years, Laurie, and his four children and five grandchildren.

"Funeral arrangements will be strictly private and a memorial service will be held later this year in the UK."

The composer was born John Barry Prendergast in 1933, the son of John Prendergast, who owned theatres and cinemas across northern England, including The Rialto in York. It was through helping his father that he was first introduced to the world of film. His career would reflect both his father's and that of his mother, a classical pianist.

He attended St Peter's School in the 1940s before embarking on an illustrious career that brought international success and acclaim.

Mr Barry himself learned the piano as a child and was also a capable trumpeter. He was taught music by renowned Minster organist, Francis Jackson.

During his National Service, Mr Barry furthered his musical knowledge by taking a correspondence course in composition.

After leaving the army he formed a rock and roll band The John Barry Seven, notching up hits with Hit And Miss, later the theme to TV's Juke Box Jury, Beat For Beatniks and a cover of the twangy guitar track Walk Don't Run.

His big break in composing came when he arranged Monty Norman's score for the first James Bond film Dr No, and he went on to work on numerous other films in the series, including Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.

While most known for his work on the Bond films, Mr Barry's greatest successes came elsewhere. He won five Oscars for his work, on Born Free (two), The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves.

He was also made an OBE and won a Bafta fellowship six years ago.

Mr Barry also worked on a number of themes for TV and went on to release albums of his own music.

Mr Barry's style, complete with lush strings and grand orchestral movements, was instantly recognisable and continued to influence modern stars, including Robbie Williams whose 1998 number one hit Millennium was inspired by the theme to You Only Live Twice.

Do you want to pay tribute to John Barry, or do you have memories of him? Phone our newsdesk on 01904 567131 or email newsdesk@thepress.co.uk

From the archives...

Press call helped John Barry to stardom
Two books profiling Bond composer John Barry were published in 1999. STACEY BREWER recalled at the time how the Evening Press helped him on the road to stardom.

Interview with John Barry
In 2001, John Barry made a rare visit to his home city. Nick Hallissey tried to contain himself while he lined up questions to ask one of his heroes.

Plaque commemorates York's music man
The boyhood home of York's Oscar-winning composer John Barry was recognised by the British Film Institute in 1998.