Celebrated pianist Van Cliburn has lost his battle with bone cancer at the age of 78.

He passed away at his home in Fort Worth, Texas on Wednesday (27Feb13), according to the Associated Press.

A statement from his publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, reads, "Van Cliburn was an international legend for over five decades, a great humanitarian and a brilliant musician whose light will continue to shine through his extraordinary legacy. He will be missed by all who knew and admired him, and by countless people he never met."

Cliburn first won international acclaim in 1958 after winning the quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, Russia, at the age of 23, and he went on to perform for royalty and heads of state, including every U.S. president since Harry Truman.

He was later recognised with the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Kennedy Center Honors Medallion and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The musician was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer last August (12).