Wojciech Kilar, a composer of Polish classical and film music, died on Sunday in Katowice, Upper Silesia in southern Poland. He was 81 years old and had reportedly been battling cancer for a long time.

Kilar, who belonged to the Polish avant-garde music movement of the Sixties, composed music for many films, including Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning “The Pianist” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”

“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,” Jerzy Kornowicz, head of the Association of Polish Composers, said.

Polish film director Kazimierz Kutz said in published reports that working with Kilar was pure pleasure and that his music compositions were always beyond expectations.

Kilar's main interest was in composing symphonies and concertos, but he wrote scores for dozens of movies. It was the music he composed for Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” a 1992 American erotic horror movie, that won him worldwide acclaim and an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for best score composer.

He was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Polish State Cinema Committee in 1991, and in November 2008, Kilar was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.