published Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Doc Watson dies at 89 in NC

  • photo
    In this May 1, 2005 photo, master flatpicker Doc Watson plays during the "My Friend Merle" show during MerleFest in Wilkesboro, N.C. Watson was in critical condition Thursday, May 24, 2012 at a North Carolina hospital after falling at his home in Deep Gap earlier this week.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The manager of Grammy-winning folk musician Doc Watson says the artist has died. He was 89.

Mitchell Greenhill said in a news release that Watson died Tuesday at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. A hospital spokeswoman also confirmed Watson's death.

Watson was a master flatpicker, playing his acoustic guitar at lightning speeds that could intimidate other musicians. The blind musician also sang and played other instruments, including the harmonica.

His many awards include the National Medal of the Arts in 1997 and the lifetime achievement award from the Grammys in 2004. His albums earned seven other Grammys.

Watson was also known for Merlefest, an annual gathering of musicians in Wilkesboro named after his son, who died in a tractor accident in 1985.

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