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Folk singer ‘Doc’ Watson in critical condition after surgery

Posted at 12:41 PM, May 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-26 07:49:23-04

By David Ariosto, CNN

(CNN) — Bluegrass music legend Doc Watson, a Grammy winner known for his flatpicking and fingerstyle technique on the guitar, is in critical condition at a hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, his representative said Friday.

Watson, 89, had colon surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, according to a post Thursday on the website of Folklore Productions, which is run by the singer’s representative, Mitch Greenhill.

A day later, Greenhill said Watson was “resting and responsive” at the hospital in central North Carolina.

“He has regained some strength,” Greenhill said Friday on the website. “The family appreciates everyone’s prayers and good wishes.”

Jumping onto the music scene in the early 1960s, Watson is considered influential among folk musicians for his brand of bluegrass, blues, country and gospel music. He has won seven Grammy awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born Arthel Lane Watson in Deep Gap, North Carolina, Watson was blinded from an eye infection as a baby. He toured with his son Merle before his death after a farming accident in 1985, and has continually played at an annual festival called MerleFest in his son’s honor.

Watson has credited his own father for helping him get his start in music.

“One day he brought (a banjo) to me and put it in my hand and said, ‘Son, I want you to learn how to play this thing real well,” Watson told National Public Radio’s Terry Gross in 1988. “It might help you get through the world.”

CNN’s Jane Caffrey and Denise Quan contributed to this report.
CNN’s Jane Caffrey contributed to this report