Vasily Smyslov, World Chess Champion from 1957 to 1958, died in Moscow today. Smyslov was a genius, arguably the greatest player of the 1950s, and a decent human being.
Smyslov was also a great composer of endgame studies: here's a page devoted to some of his most beautiful compositions.
Sergey Shipov interviewed Smyslov in 2006: here's the Google translation and the original Russian.
Vasily Smyslov: Endgame Virtuoso is reasonably priced and still in print. For a more complete look at Smyslov's career, see the autobiographical Smyslov's 125 Selected Games (unfortunately out of print). If you don't mind descriptive notation, a used copy of this Dover edition of Smyslov's best games through 1957 is reasonably priced.
And Smyslov was much more than a quiet endgame grinder: