President Bush To Eulogize Van Cliburn

Van Cliburn died at his Fort Worth home Wednesday at age 78 after fighting bone cancer.

President George W. Bush is among the dignitaries who will pay tribute to pianist Van Cliburn at his memorial service on Sunday.

In 2003, Bush presented Van Cliburn The Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award that year. President Barack Obama honored Cliburn with the National Medal of Arts in 2010.

Cliburn died Wednesday at 78 after fighting bone cancer. He had played for every American president since Harry Truman, plus royalty and heads of state around the world.

He is best remembered for winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, at the height of the Cold War.

According to the memorial service program, Van Cliburn's friend of long standing Thomas Smith, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Joseph W. Polisi, president of The Juilliard School will also pay tribute to Van Cliburn. Van Cliburn studied at Juilliard after graduating from Kilgore High School in Texas.

Family spokesman Tom Stoker says a funeral is scheduled for 3:00-5:00 p.m. Sunday at the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, where Cliburn worshiped for decades. Entombment at the mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Park will follow.

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