Longtime conductor Claudio Abbado passed away on Monday, January 20, at the age of 80. As a young man, Abbado won the Serge Koussevitsky Competition (for conductors) at Tanglewood. He went on to conduct some of the world's greatest orchestras and served for several years as the Music Director at La Scala in Milan. He succeeded the legendary Herbert von Karajan as Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic in the late 1980s. Abbado was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2000, recovered, and went on to form a new ensemble: the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. For a time he stopped conducting, apparently on the advice of his doctors. That only lasted a couple of months before he was back at the podium. No specific cause of death has been given, a family spokesperson simply said that Abbado had passed away "after a long illness." Here are a couple of good resources for you:
The New York Times OBITUARY for Abbado.
The WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE on Abbado's life.