Jacqueline du Pre, a brilliant and charismatic English cellist whose career was cut short by multiple sclerosis, died last night in London, her concert managers said. She was 42 years old.

Miss du Pre, who was stricken with the disease in 1971, had a career that lasted barely a decade. But during her prime she was recognized as one of the world’s leading cellists, and served as a role model for many young musicians…

The first signs of Miss du Pre’s illness appeared when she was 26 years old and at the height of her fame. ”My hands no longer worked,” she recalled in 1978. ”I simply couldn’t feel the strings.” She withdrew from concertizing for one year, then returned, to mixed reviews. The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis followed shortly, and Miss du Pre retired.

By the mid-70’s, Miss du Pre was virtually paralyzed. She could no longer dress herself, nor stand unaided, nor travel without a great deal of planning. She put all of her energies into two major activities – teaching, whenever possible, and working for the cause of multiple sclerosis research.

”I had to learn to reconstruct my life,” she said in 1978. ”But I have found a great deal to do. I go to concerts and see my friends. And the music is still alive in my head.” …

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