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Bush: Van Cliburn spread peace through music

- Associated Press - Sunday, March 3, 2013

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (AP) - Former President George W. Bush says the late pianist Van Cliburn spread peace and love through his music.

Bush spoke to about 1,400 people attending Cliburn's memorial service Sunday in Texas.

Cliburn died Wednesday at 78 after fighting bone cancer.

Bush spoke of Cliburn's winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958. At the height of the Cold War, the win helped thaw the icy rivalry between the United States and Soviet Union.

Bush said Cliburn charmed friends and foes alike and essentially was a diplomat. Cliburn played for every U.S. president since Harry Truman, plus royalty and heads of state worldwide.

In 2003, Bush presented Cliburn with the Presidential Medal of Freedom _ the nation's highest civilian honor.

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