Lifestyle & Belief

Doc Watson dies at 89


Doc Watson performs in the Blues Tent in the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on May 1, 2009 in New Orleans.


Chris Graythen

Grammy-winning folk musician Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson died Tuesday at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. He was 89. 

He was hospitalized after a fall last week at his home in Deep Gap, NC, and subsequent colon surgery, according to USA Today.

GlobalPost previously reported that Watson, who was blind, was responsive after his surgery, but that he remained in critical condition once his condition started to deteriorate.

More from GlobalPost: Doc Watson responsive after colon surgery

His longtime manager, Mitchell Greenhill, confirmed the news of his death in a news release today, according to the Associated Press.

Watson was born in Deep Gap, NC, on March 3, 1923, to a family of musicians. His mother, Annie Watson, sang traditional songs — both secular and religious — and his father, General Watson, played the banjo, which was also Doc's first instrument, reported WFMY News. He borrowed a guitar at age 13 and taught himself to play the chords to "When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland." His father then bought him a $12 Stella. He later learned more chords from a fellow student at the Raleigh School for the Blind and incorporated what he heard on records and the radio with the music he grew up hearing. 

According to the AP, Watson was known as a master flatpicker and for playing his guitar at intimidating lightning speed.

More from GlobalPost: Doc Watson remains in critical condition following colon surgery