H.R. Giger, the Swiss artist who designed the terrifying creature in the Alien movies, died on Monday from injuries suffered in a fall. He was 74.

Born in Switzerland in 1940, Giger was best known for his work on films, including Species, Poltergeist II, and Dune. In 1980, he won an Academy Award for special effects for his work on Alien. He also worked as a sculptor, furniture designer, and painter.

From the Associated Press:

His mother Melli, to whom he showed a lifelong devotion, encouraged her son's passion for art, despite his unconventional obsession with death and sex that found little appreciation in 1960s rural Switzerland. The host of one of his early exhibitions was reportedly forced to wipe the spit of disgusted neighbors off the gallery windows every morning.

A collection of his early work, "Ein Fressen fuer den Psychiater" — "A Feast for the Psychiatrist" — used mainly ink and oil, but Giger soon discovered the airbrush and pioneered his own freehand technique. He also created sculptures, preferably using metal, styorofoam and plastic.

Giger also designed album covers, including those for Debbie Harry's solo album, Koo Koo, Danzig's Danzig 3: How the Gods Kill, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery.

"My paintings seem to make the strongest impression on people who are, well, who are crazy," Giger said in a 1979 interview with Starlog magazine. "If they like my work they are creative ... or they are crazy."

[Image via AP]