UNDATED (CBS) -- Van Cliburn became a superstar in 1958 when, as a 23-year-old from Texas, he won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
It was all so unexpected that the soviet judges reportedly went to Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev for approval to award him the prize.
In the middle of the cold war, Cliburn got a warm reception from the Russian people. And he was honored back home with a ticker tape parade.
Cliburn was treated like a rock star with sold-out concerts and teenage fan clubs. And when "60 Minutes" turned 25, he helped celebrate.
In 1987, Cliburn performed at the White House for the last soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev and got a bear hug.
His last public appearance was in September.
Van Cliburn was 78.