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Grammy-Winning Pianist Van Cliburn Dies

Sadly, one of the world's greatest piano players has tickled the ivories for the last time.

Internationally renowned piano player Van Cliburn has passed away from bone cancer at age 78, according to the New York Times.

Van has played the piano for every U.S. president since Harry Truman. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2003, and Barack Obama awarded him with the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities in 2010.

Van earned a Kennedy Center Honor in 2001 and a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 2004. That's a whole lot of awards!

He is also known as a cultural ambassador, as he won a piano competition in Moscow in 1958 at the height of the Cold War, which led to his fame.

Van displayed musical talent from a young age, having debuted on piano with the Houston Symphony Orchestra at age 12. Meanwhile, when we were 12 years old, we were still having trouble mastering the kazoo.

Van did not have any children and shared his home with Thomas L. Smith, who survives him.

We'll miss you, Van!

Source: New York Times

02.28.2013 / 03:31 AM EDT by Ryan Gajewski
Related: News, Celebrity Deaths

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