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Metallica’s James Hetfield Pays Tribute to Ennio Morricone: ‘Forever Think of You as Part of the Metallica Family’

James Hetfield of Metallica

Metallica‘s James Hetfield took to Instagram on Monday morning to remember Oscar-winner Ennio Morricone, who composed 1966’s “The Ecstasy Of Gold,” which has opened the band’s shows for over 30 years.

Morricone died Monday at 91 years old, and Hetfield writes that the legendary musician’s work had become “part of our blood flow, deep breathing, fist bumping, prayers and band huddle pre-show ritual.”

“I have sang that melody thousands of times to warm up my throat before hitting the stage,” Hetfield wrote. “Thank you Ennio for pumping us up, being a big part of our inspiration, and a bonding between band, crew, and fan. I will forever think of you as part of the Metallica family.”

Morricone’s career compositions span more than 500 films — including Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables — and the icon died in Rome after complications from a fall last week.

“The day we first played ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ as our new intro in 1983, it was magic,” Hetfield writes.