Legendary guitarist Doc Watson in the hospital

dmenconi@newsobserver.comMay 25, 2012 


DOCWATSON1.SP.021403.RTW--Clayton,N.C.--Doc Watson and his grandson tune their guitars prior to a sound check Friday at the Clayton Center. stf/Robert Willett

ROBERT WILLETT — 2003 News & Observer file photo

Arthel “Doc” Watson is ailing.

The legendary guitarist, who turned 89 years old in March, was admitted to Watauga Medical Center on Monday after taking a fall at his Deep Gap home. On Thursday, he was transferred to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.

Reports indicate he is being treated for pneumonia and possibly kidney failure. But Watson did not break any bones in the fall, said his longtime onstage playing partner David Holt.

“He is a stout man who has lived 89 years with very little sickness and always been quite healthy,” Holt said Thursday afternoon. “So we’re hoping.”

A spokeswoman at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem said Watson was in critical condition Thursday.

One of the giants of 20th century American music, Watson pioneered a lightning-fast style of finger-picking that has been influential among rock as well as folk musicians. His many accolades include seven Grammy Awards, as well as a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award.

Watson is scheduled to perform June 30 at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh, a tribute show called “Celebrating Doc.” In 2008, at age 85, he was playing shows just a month after major surgery to have a growth removed from a lung.

Menconi: 919-829-4759 or blogs.newsobserver.com/beat

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