World Renowned Pianist Van Cliburn Dies of Bone Cancer

Bone cancer was announced as the cause of death of American classical pianist and musician Van Cliburn, who succumbed this week at the age of 78.

The Texas native had been diagnosed with the disease last summer and had been undergoing treatment at his residence in Fort Worth. The talented pianist became an unofficial goodwill ambassador for the Western World when he appeared at a 1958 musical competition in Moscow during the height of the Cold War era.

He won his first International Tchaikovsky Competition at the tender age of 23 and was the first classical musician to be honored with a ticker tape parade in New York City upon his return to America.

He continued to impress audiences as he performed throughout his adulthood and was a favorite of every U.S. President since Harry Truman. He also encouraged new generations of musicians through the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.