Сегодня плачут не только искренние поклонники прекрасной музыки. Сегодня плачет сама Музыка. ("Today, not only sincere admirers of fine music weep - music itself weeps today.")
So wrote Andrey Shcherbakov in his eulogy for the cellist and conductor for Pravda. With his passing, Russia, and indeed the world, has lost one of its greatest cellist as well as one of the greatest muses of the 20th century.
Mstislav Rostropovich played the cello with grace and vitality - and lived his life offstage the same way. He was one of modern Russia's most compelling figures, admired both for his musical mastery and his defiance of Soviet repression.
As a cellist, he was responsible for the creation of hundreds of new works, many from some of the greatest composers of the day.
As a conductor, Rostropovich was flamboyant and energetic, known for his extraordinary ability to speak directly to every member of the audience.
He is to be buried on Sunday in Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery - where the graves of his teachers Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev also lie - after a funeral in Christ the Savior Cathedral, which recently saw the farewell of Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin.
Slava, you will be missed.