Van Cliburn died today at age 78.
The name lives on with the piano competition named after him.
RIP, tall Texan:
Renowned American classical pianist Van Cliburn died Wednesday morning at the age of 78 after a battle with bone cancer, publicist and longtime friend Mary Lou Falcone told The Associated Press.
Falcone announced in late August 2012 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 performed for every president since Harry Truman, and for years devoted his time to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Wednesday in which he said he and his wife Anita “were blessed to call Van Cliburn a close friend.”