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Legendary pianist, East Texan Van Cliburn dies at 78

Legendary pianist, East Texan Van Cliburn dies at 78

POSTED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 12:37pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 4:54pm

Renowned classical pianist Van Cliburn died of bone cancer Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, his publicist said. He was 78.

Cliburn was born in Shreveport, Lousiana, before moving to Kilgore, Texas at the age of six.

The pianist attended the Julliard School when he was 17 and returned a hero during the Cold War after he won the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia.

Cliburn was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of Friendship. The highest civilian award a person can receive in the United States and Russia.

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What a beautiful man, a brilliant talent, a once-in-a-lifetime jewel in the classical music world...a man of grace, humility, love of piano, and loved by legions of appreciative audiences. What an incredible blessing that a monumental body of his work can be enjoyed forever in his recordings of solo or concert performances with all major orchestras around the world. A national treasure, he will be missed by all who had the privilege of seeing him perform or have listened to his recordings.

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