One of the most famous pianists in the world has been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer, reports the Los Angeles Times. Van Cliburn, 78, announced the diagnosis through his publicist.
“Raised in Texas and educated at Juilliard, Harvey Lavan ‘Van’ Cliburn earned global fame at age 23 when he won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958, which occurred at the height of the Cold War,” the story reports.
“Cliburn performed Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and his later recording of the latter was the first classical recording to sell 1 million copies and eventually went triple-platinum.”
Cliburn is said to be resting comfortably at his home in Fort Worth, Texas. He said in a 2008 interview with NPR that he still practiced every day, sometimes late into the night.
In the interview, Cliburn said: "I was never really the type that needed the stage. I love music. I love listening to it. But when you just listen, you can be 100 percent; when you have to serve music, you must be thinking of others, not yourself."
Cliburn received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2001 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 2004, the story notes. He retired in 1978, but has reportedly performed for every U.S. president since Harry Truman.
Here’s a clip of Cliburn performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Movement III, in Moscow in 1962: