Famed Pianist Vadym Kholodenko’s Two Young Daughters Likely Died of Asphyxia

Vadym Kholodenko poses with his wife Sofya Tsygankova and daughters Nika, 4, and Michela, 2 months old, on Sept. 23, 2014.
Vadym Kholodenko poses with his wife, Sofya Tsygankova, and daughters Nika, 4, and Michela, 2 months old, on Sept. 23, 2014. Joyce Marshall/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images

The two young daughters of famed pianist Vadym Kholodenko likely died of asphyxia, according to autopsy reports released Thursday, April 28. 

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office confirmed that Kholodenko's little girls, Nika, 5, and Michela, 1, had died from a lack of oxygen, after police said last month that the children died as a result of "homicidal violence."

“The mechanism of death in this case and the companion case is most likely asphyxia,” the medical examiner's office concluded in its report for Nika, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The little ones were found dead by their father on March 17, in bedrooms at their Benbrook, Texas, home. At the time, police said a pillow was partially covering the face of the youngest, Michela. Nika was found inside her bedroom in a onesie in her tiny bed.

According to the affidavits, Kholodenko dialed 911 and said his wife was "going crazy."

The children's mom, Sofya Tsygankova — who's been estranged from Kholodenko since last fall — has been charged with two counts of capital murder. Police found her on the scene kneeling on the floor and "rocking back and forth and making noises" in a blood-covered nightgown. Tsygankova had multiple wounds on her body, including her chest and wrists.

The Star-Telegram also reported Thursday that investigators found an empty bottle of Quetiapine, an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, inside the home.

In a March 21 press conference, police told reporters that they had "probable cause, reason to believe, that [Tsygankova] committed the homicides." She remains in jail with her bail set at $2 million. 

Sofya Tsygankova, the estranged wife of renowned pianist Vadym Kholodenko, enters a plea of not guilty at her arraignment on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, on two capital murder charges accusing her of killing the couple's daughters.
Sofya Tsygankova, the estranged wife of renowned pianist Vadym Kholodenko, enters a plea of not guilty at her arraignment on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, on two capital murder charges accusing her of killing the couple's daughters. Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images

Kholodenko, a world-renowned pianist who's famed for winning the prestigious Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013, filed for divorce from his wife in November 2015. The two married in April 2010, but separated in August.

In a statement released last month, Kholodenko mourned his baby girls. "The loss of my children will be with me forever," the Ukrainian-born musician shared. "Wherever I go after this tragedy, my heart will stay with all the people here of Fort Worth and my daughters will rest in this soil." 

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