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Doc Watson (left) performs alongside Sam Bush at MerleFest in Wilkesboro last month. Anna Oakes | Watauga Democrat

Originally published: 2012-05-24 13:51:38
Last modified: 2012-05-29 12:52:10

Doc Watson hospitalized

by Anna Oakes

UPDATE: Doc Watson's condition has "somewhat deteriorated" as of Tuesday morning, according to a brief message from manager Mitch Greenhill at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

He remains in critical condition, Greenhill said.


Doc Watson remains in critical condition at Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem Sunday evening after having what his manager described as "a difficult day."

"Doc had a difficult day, but seems to have pulled through OK," Mitch Greenhill said in a statement. "His condition is now pretty much where it was when the day began."

"The family, while understanding and appreciating interest from Doc's friends and well-wishers, would appreciate privacy during this trying time," Greenhill said.

Earlier on Sunday, the publication "Bluegrass Today" reported that Watson's family had been called to his side.


International folk music icon and Deep Gap resident Doc Watson, 89, is recovering at Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem following colon surgery Thursday.

“And he came through it OK,” said Watson's manager Mitch Greenhill, speaking by phone Friday.
Watson fell at home earlier in the week, Greenhill said. He was taken to Watauga Medical Center in Boone, where “they kind of determined that there was something more seriously wrong with him and he was taken to Winston-Salem,” he said.

Greenhill said hospital officials initially planned to transport Watson via helicopter but ultimately traveled by ambulance due to foggy conditions.

“They found a blockage in his colon, which they removed,” said Greenhill. “Things started looking better. I think we can all feel a little more at ease today than yesterday when he was entering this surgery,” he said, but cautioned, “It's still serious.”

Late Friday afternoon, Greenhill reported that “Doc is resting and responsive. He's regained some strength.” A spokesperson at Baptist Medical Center said late Friday that Watson remained in critical condition.

Watson, a lifetime resident of Deep Gap, is an influential flat-picking and finger-picking guitarist and a soulful vocalist of Appalachian folk, blues, country and gospel styles. He is the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the country's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Watson has also received seven Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

On Friday, well-wishers placed bouquets of flowers around a bronze Doc Watson sculpture in downtown Boone, which was installed last June in conjunction with a Jones House Community Center performance by Watson and his friends.