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Bluegrass Legend Doc Watson Hospitalized, in Critical Condition

Doc Watson
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Famous flat-picker, singer and folk legend Arthel ‘Doc’ Watson is in critical condition after a fall at his home in Deep Gap, N.C. on Monday. While his daughter said he didn’t break any bones in the accident, it appears he’s suffering from an infection.

Numerous reports indicate Watson is facing pneumonia and a possible kidney infection. “He is a stout man who has lived 89 years with very little sickness and always been quite healthy,” playing partner David Holt tells the Raleigh, N.C. News and Observer. “So we’re hoping.”

The seven-time Grammy winner pioneered an influential style of finger picking that helped transcend the genre in the mid-20th century. For years, he performed with his son Merle, until Merle died in a tractor accident in the fall of 1985. Three years later, the blind bluegrass, country and folk singer created Merlefest to honor his son.

“Hoping that the great bluegrass legend Doc Watson pulls through from from his hospitalization. One of the masters,” comedian and banjo player Steve Martin tweeted. Watson is at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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