Famed Pianist Van Cliburn Dies

    Van Cliburn, 24, concert Pianist, places middle finger of his right hand on piano key as he is allowed to resume practicing in New York on April 7, 1959.  In late February Cliburn's finger was operated on for an infection.   His doctor has given him permission now to practice five or ten minutes a day following removal of bandage from the finger.  Cliburn returned from an Arizona vacation last week. (AP Photo/J

    Van Cliburn in 1959. (AP)

    American pianist Van Cliburn has passed away at the age of 78. Cliburn won the top prize at the 1958 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow at the age of 23. It was a victory for the U.S. over the Soviets during the Cold War, catapulting the young man into a celebrity. He was even welcomed back to New York City with a ticker-tape parade and 100,000 people. A pianist as popular as Justin Bieber? That doesn’t happen anymore. He had been suffering from bone cancer.

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