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German art collector Gurlitt passes away at 81

Cornelius Gurlitt, a reclusive German collector whose long-secret hoard of well over 1,000 artworks triggered an international uproar over the fate of art looted by the Nazis, has died. He was 81.

The house of Cornelius Gurlitt in the Aigen district on November 18, 2013 in Salzburg, Austria.
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The house of Cornelius Gurlitt in the Aigen district on November 18, 2013 in Salzburg, Austria.

Gurlitt's spokesman, Stephan Holzinger, said that the collector died Tuesday morning at his apartment in Munich, where he had returned after major heart surgery.

Gurlitt was thrust into the public spotlight in November when authorities, following a report by German magazine Focus, disclosed that they had seized more than 1,400 itemsamong them 1,280 works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Marc Chagallfrom the Munich apartment more than a year earlier.

They had discovered the works while investigating a tax case.

—By The Associated Press

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