Folk pioneer Doc Watson dies aged 89

Pioneering folk musician Arthel Lane 'Doc' Watson has died at the age of 89.

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Pioneering folk musician Arthel Lane ‘Doc’ Watson has died at the age of 89.

The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, known for blending bluegrass, country, gospel and blues, passed away following abdominal surgery last week, his promoters confirmed to AFP.

He was admitted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem in the US following a fall last week, with his daughter telling local media he was “real sick” at the time.

Known for his influential flat-picking playing style, Watson picked up a total of seven Grammys during his career, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Born into a musical family, he was blind from the age of one after suffering an infection. He spent much of his career recording and touring with his late son Merle, releasing albums such as ‘Doc Watson And Family’ and ‘Sittin’ Here Pickin’ The Blues’.

Former US president Bill Clinton is among those who have paid tribute to Watson down the years, commenting after awarding him the National Medal of Arts: “There may not be a serious, committed baby boomer alive who didn’t at some point in his or her youth try to spend a few minutes at least trying to learn to pick a guitar like Doc Watson.”

Watson is survived by his wife of almost 66 years Rosa Lee Carlton Watson, their daughter Nancy Ellen, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his brother David Watson.


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