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From an early age, Frederic Chopin displayed natural musical ability. Often compared to Mozart, Chopin was invited to play for members of the aristocracy in small, private concerts. But, unlike Mozart, his parents did not take advantage of his childhood talent. Frederic Chopin left his Polish homeland behind when he was only 20 and lived most of his life in Paris, France, the cultural hub of Europe. His genius as a pianist and composer flowered there with the encouragement and support of the female novelist George Sand. He wrote more than 200 works for piano during the course of his life which was cut short by tuberculosis at the age of 39. Symbolically, his heart was taken from his body and returned to his beloved Poland, where he remains a national hero.