Doc Watson Dies After Difficult Recovery Following Abdominal Surgery

Doc Watson Dies After Difficult Recovery Following Abdominal Surgery

The folk musician, who put many guitarists under his spell with his flatpicking style, passed away on Tuesday, May 29 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
Music world is in mourning once again. Roughly a week after Bee Gees' Robin Gibb passed away, news broke out that Doc Watson, the folk musician who's well known for his flatpicking style on the guitar, died while staying in a hospital in his hometown of North Carolina.

He passed away on Tuesday, May 29 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. He was initially admitted to Watauga Medical Center after a fall at his home in Deep Gap on Monday, May 21 before being transferred to the Baptist Medical Center on Thursday.

Watson's daughter, Nancy, said back then that he had no broken bones but was "real sick." The 89-year-old music veteran reportedly was treated due to infection and underwent an abdominal surgery. After the procedure, he was said to regain some strength although remaining in critical condition.

In the wake of Watson's passing, condolences have poured in from fans and celebrities. Ashley Judd, Elijah Wood, Michelle Branch and Dita Von Teese were among the stars who took to Twitter to pay homage to the late singer.

Judd tweeted, "Aw, rest in peace, one of my all-time favorites, beloved Doc Watson, Folk Music Icon, Dies At 89." Wood saluted the master flatpicker by posting, "So long, Doc Watson. You're surely sittin on top of the world."

Branch wrote a simple note of "R.I.P. Doc Watson." Von Teese, on the other hand, re-tweeted news of his passing from New York Times that read, "Doc Watson, Folk Musician, Dies at 89: Mr. Watson's flat-picking style elevated the acoustic guitar to solo status in bluegrass and country music."

Watson was blinded by an eye infection shortly after birth. With his talent, he earned a living through music, a career he said he probably wouldn't have pursued without his eyesight limitations. He won seven Grammy Awards and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement honor in 2004.

He was also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, a National Heritage Fellowship. "There may not be a serious, committed baby boomer alive who didn't at some point in his or her youth try to spend a few minutes at least trying to learn to pick a guitar like Doc Watson," Bill Clinton said when awarding the honor to him.

He is survived by his wife of nearly sixty-six years, Rosa Lee Carlton Watson, and their daughter Nancy Ellen, as well as his grandchildren Richard Watson and Karen Watson Norris, several great-grandchildren, and his brother David Watson.

He died just a month after headlining MerleFest 25 in Wilkesboro. He performed at the gig in the memory of his son and touring mate, Merle, who died in a tractor accident in 1985. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Doc and his family at this time," a statement on MerleFest's website read.

Private funeral arrangements are pending.

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