H.R. Giger, who designed the creature from 'Alien,' dies at 74

H.R. Giger  poses with two of his works at the art museum in Chur, Switzerland, in 2007.

Story highlights

  • H.R. Giger created "Alien's" Xenomorph along with album covers
  • His work was distinguished by eerie, erotic combinations of human and machine
  • Giger said he was inspired by his dreams and nightmares
H.R. Giger, the Swiss surrealist artist whose works of sexual-industrial imagery and design of the eponymous creature in the "Alien" movies were known around the world, has died. He was 74.
His death was confirmed by a statement from his longtime friend and manager, Leslie Barany.
"We are absolutely heartbroken over the loss of this loving husband, selfless friend and supremely talented artist," the statement read.
"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 humor were in stark contrast with the universe he depicted in his art."
Giger's art -- often featuring skeletal, tentacled, protomechanical (Giger called them "biomechanical") figures rendered in shades of blue-gray and brown -- was a mainstay of dorm-room bookshelves and science-fiction hallucinations. Among his most widely known works was the cover for Emerson, Lake & Palmer's 1973 album "Brain Salad Surgery."
But he's probably best known for his design of the Alien, the extraterrestrial species in Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi/horror film "Alien" and its sequels.
With its oblong, skull-like head, dozens of teeth, narrow torso and spiny, whip-quick tail, it was a fearsome creature that salivated acid and appeared to come and go at will. Indeed, the being that terrorizes the spaceship in the first film literally explodes out of actor John Hurt's chest before skittering away.