Leonard Bernstein (25th August 1918 - 14th October 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. He announced his retirement from conducting on October 9, 1990, and died of pneumonia and a pleural tumor five days later. He was 72 years old. A longtime heavy smoker, he had battled emphysema from his mid-50s.