Excerpts from the New York Times
Van Cliburn, the American pianist whose first-place award at the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow made him an overnight sensation, died Wednesday (Feb. 27) at his home in Fort Worth. He was 78.
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
His publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, confirmed the death, saying that Cliburn had been treated for bone cancer.
Hailing from Texas, Cliburn was a tall, lanky 23-year-old when he clinched the gold medal in the inaugural year of the Tchaikovsky competition. The feat, in Moscow, was viewed as an American triumph over the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war. He became a cultural celebrity of pop-star dimensions and brought overdue attention to the musical assets of his native land.
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