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Mikis Theodorakis: Greek composer, who wrote music for Zorba The Greek, has died aged 96

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By Euronews with AFP, AP
Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis gives a speech to a gathered crowd during a massive peaceful rally against austerity measures on Thursday, June 9, 2011
Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis gives a speech to a gathered crowd during a massive peaceful rally against austerity measures on Thursday, June 9, 2011   -   Copyright  Credit: AP
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Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, who wrote the music for the film Zorba the Greek, has died aged 96, Greece's culture ministry has confirmed.

"Today we lost a part of the soul of Greece," said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni in a condolence message posted on Twitter.

"Mikis Theodorakis, Mikis of all of us, the teacher, the intellectual, the radical left. The one who made all Greeks sing poets," the statement went on.

His death at his home in central Athens followed multiple hospitalisations in recent years, mostly for heart treatment.

Theodorakis was born on July 29, 1925, on the Aegean island of Chios, in a family of Cretan descent.

Theodorakis’ prolific career that started at age 17 produced a hugely varied body of work that ranged from sombre symphonies to popular television.

He is considered the most renowned Greek composer in history and an icon of Greek resistance.

During the Nazi occupation of the country, Theodorakis who joined the Communists, was arrested in 1943 when he was just 18 and subjected to torture.

The artist was also persecuted by the Colonels dictatorship, which began in 1967, forcing him to exile. The regime outlawed his music.

More recently, during the financial crisis of the 2010s, he took to the streets to protest against austerity measures.