Van Cliburn, the American pianist whose first-place award at the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow made him an overnight sensation and propelled him to a phenomenally successful and lucrative career, though a short-lived one, died on Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth. He was 78.
His publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, confirmed the death, saying that Mr. Cliburn had been treated for bone cancer.
Mr. Cliburn was a tall, lanky 23-year-old, hailing from Texas, 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.
We seldom mention current news on the Drake Homes Inc blog, but the passing of this wonderful, talented man needs sharing. He will be missed.