The director who helped bring the late H.R. Giger's work to mainstream recognition has paid tribute to his collaborator and friend.
In a statement issued to Time (via BBC News), filmmaker Ridley Scott -- who used Giger's groundbreaking designs in the 1979 movie Alien -- gave a heartfelt goodbye to the legendary Swiss artist, who died Monday at the age of 74 after sustaining injuries at a fall in his home in Zurich. Scott said:
"I am very saddened to hear of Giger’s passing. I think back on how committed and passionate he was, and then consequently, all the security we built up around his ‘lock up’ studios at Shepperton. I was the only one allowed the honor of going in, and I absolutely enjoyed every hour I spent with him there. He was a real artist and great eccentric, a true original, but above all, he was a really nice man. He will be missed.”
Shepperton Studios in London was where Alien was filmed and Giger's unforgettable work on the title xenomorph, the "space jockey" and the derelict alien ship were first utilized. Although Giger's work had been known before in art and music circles, his Oscar-winning achievements on Alien became a major influence on science fiction cinema and art right up until his untimely passing (Scott is second from right in the photo below, inspecting the Alien costume).
A statement from Giger's family said:
"We are absolutely heartbroken over the loss of this loving husband, selfless friend and supremely talented artist. He truly was one of a kind, committed to his craft, to his friends and to his family. His warm personality, incredible generosity, and sharp sense of humour, were in stark contrast with the universe he depicted in his art.
"As much as Giger shunned the limelight, preferring his work to speak for him, he was greatly appreciative of every compliment he ever received and we know he would be amazed and humbled by the kindness that continues to be the subject of his eulogies.
"In a career with so many star-studded highlights, it is only natural that many have mentioned his world famous biomechanical creation for Alien...it was certainly a design which Giger prized, much as he took great pride in his collaboration with myriads of music industry and film artists, since he began his glorious journey as a world class painter, sculptor and designer."
Read more about Giger here, and if you can, check out the recently released documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, in which the artist discusses his conceptual artwork for that famously abandoned film version of the classic sci-fi novel.
On a personal note, this writer has three Giger pieces tattooed on his arms -- that's how much the man's work inspired and haunted me ever since I saw Alien for the first time.
Watch a documentary on Giger below (posted on YouTube) as we continue to mourn this huge loss to the worlds of art, film and science fiction.