Oscar Gacitua: Age 76 | Cause Of Death: SUBWAY /TRAIN

(Died: 5 Dec. 2001)

SANTIAGO, Chile (Dec. 12, 2001)

Chilean pianist Oscar Gacitua killed himself by hurling himself under a subway train, his daughter said.  He was 76.  Gacitua was considered one of the greatest Chilean pianists and an expert in interpreting Chopin. In 1959, he received a prize in the Chopin competition in Warsaw, Poland.   Gacitua called one of his sons to explain his decision before killing  himself Dec. 5, said his daughter, Rebeca Gacitua. The son tried to talk the pianist out of his decision for more than an hour.   ”He was extremely depressed,” Rebeca Gacitua said. ”He was going through a bad time. He was terrified of old age and had no motivation to live.”  Rebeca Gacitua also searched for her father on the streets near his home until the police informed her of his suicide.   Oscar Gacitua’s early talent was encouraged by another outstanding Chilean pianist, Claudio Arrau, living in the United States. With Arrau’s help, Oscar Gacitua obtained a scholarship to study in New York for three years.  Chilean Juan Pablo Izquierdo, director of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic Orchestra in Pittsburgh, said Thursday that Oscar Gacitua was one of the most talented pianists of his generation.  ”He was a pianist that, apart from having great innate talent, also demonstrated great interest in looking for solutions within music,”  Izquierdo said.  At the time of his death, Oscar Gacitua was preparing a January concert featuring works of Rachmaninov on the beaches of Vina del Mar, Chile.