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H.R. Giger, 'Alien' artist, surrealist dies at 74

By Albert Otti & Thomas Burmeister


LAST UPDATED: 2:21 p.m. HST, May 13, 2014

BASEL, Switzerland » Swiss artist H.R. Giger, whose surreal designs defined "Alien" and other science fiction films, has died in Zurich at the age of 74, his family said Tuesday.

Giger died in a hospital Monday from injuries after a fall, his relatives were quoted as saying by Swiss public broadcaster SRF.

The artist was best known for creating the title character and extraterrestrial landscapes in Ridley Scott's film "Alien," for which Giger won an Academy Award in 1980.

He also worked on other films, including "Species" and "Poltergeist II."

"The primary processes of life, such as birth, sexuality and death, have always fascinated me," he said.

Giger's art, which often merged human and technological shapes in sexually suggestive ways, was admired among fantasy and science fiction fans as well as tattoo artists and rock musicians.

His works appeared as cover art for bands such as the Dead Kennedys, Danzig and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Largely ignored by the art establishment, Giger converted a chateau in Gruyeres into a museum that features his unsettling sculptures and interior designs.

Giger was born in 1940, the son of a pharmacist. He said he had a happy childhood. Nightmares, in which he saw anguished animals or dark staircases, served as inspiration for this work.

"I suddenly noticed that these stifling dreams disappeared as soon as I had painted them," he said in an interview.

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