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President Barack Obama presents a 2010 National Medal of Arts to pianist Van Cliburn, Wednesday, March 2, 2011, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama presents a 2010 National Medal of Arts to pianist Van Cliburn, Wednesday, March 2, 2011, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

Classical pianist Van Cliburn dies at 78

February 27, 2013

Van Cliburn,

the internationally celebrated pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow

competition helped thaw the Cold War and launched a spectacular career

that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock star status, has

died. He was 78.