American Pianist Van Cilburn Dies After Battling Bone Cancer

Thu, February 28, 2013 7:41am EDT by Add first Comment
Van Cilburn Dead
AP/Invision

The beloved musician, who was hailed a hero at the age of 23 when he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the cold war, died on Feb. 28 after battling bone cancer.

Van Cilburn, a beloved American pianist, died at the age of 78 after losing his battle with bone cancer. The musician gained worldwide recognition after winning first place in the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in 1958 when he was just 23 years old.

Van, who won the competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War, became a symbol of defeat over the Soviet Union during the war. His performance at the competition was received by an eight-minute standing ovation. At the event, the judges had to reportedly ask Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev if they could give the first place prize to an American.

“Is he the best?” Khrushchev reportedly said, according to the Washington Post. “Then give him the prize!”

Van Cilburn Propelled To Worldwide Fame

After his heroic win, Van became an international pop star and was beloved by fans worldwide. When he got back to New York from Moscow, he was received with a huge parade in Lower Manhattan attended by 100,000 people.

New York mayor Mayor Robert F. Wagner said during a ceremony at City Hall that “with his two hands, Van Cliburn struck a chord which has resounded around the world, raising our prestige with artists and music lovers everywhere,” according to the New York Times.

Watch Van Cilburn’s 1958 Tchaikovsky Performance Below:

So sad. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time. What do YOU think of Van Cilburn’s career HollywoodLifers?

– Christina Stiehl

More Recent Celebrity Deaths:

  1. Lou Myers Dead — ‘Different World’ Actor Dies At 77
  2. Mindy McCready Dies At 37 — Dead Of Apparent Suicide
  3. Ed Koch Dead — Former Mayor Of New York City Dies At 88

Leave a Reply

To comment, please fill in the fields below, enter your comment and select the Comment button.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,164 other followers