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Bulgarian-born pianist Alexis Weissenberg dies at 82

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GENEVA - Bulgarian-born pianist Alexis Weissenberg, whose love of music from the age of 3 saved him and his mother in a concentration camp and carried him to the heights of 20th century performances with Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein, has died. He was 82.

Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture confirmed Monday the death of Weissenberg, who was born in the capital Sofia but spent most of his life abroad.

In a condolence letter posted online Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov hailed Weissenberg as "one of the greatest performers of the 20th century, piano virtuoso and world-known teacher of Bulgarian origin."

Bulgarian national radio reported Weissenberg suffered a long illness and died Sunday in Lugano, Switzerland, where his family had settled.

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