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Van Cliburn, American classical pianist, dies

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Van Cliburn, American classical pianist, dies

The renowned American classical pianist Van Cliburn has died. He was 78.
Van Cliburn, American classical pianist, dies
President Barack Obama presents a 2010 National Medal of Arts to pianist Van Cliburn, Wednesday, March 2, 2011, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

FORT WORTH, Texas — The renowned American classical pianist Van Cliburn has died. He was 78.

His publicist and longtime friend Mary Lou Falcone told The Associated Press that Cliburn died Wednesday morning after suffering from bone cancer.

She'd announced in late August that Cliburn had been diagnosed with advanced cancer and was being cared for at his home in Fort Worth.

Cliburn's triumph at a Moscow competition in 1958 helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular international career.

Cliburn skyrocketed to fame after winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at age 23. He returned to a New York ticker tape parade, a first for a classical musician.

He's performed for every president since Harry Truman, and for years devoted his time to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

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