Published May 30, 2012The folk music world has lost a trailblazer in Doc Watson, who passed away on Tuesday (May 29) at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, after having undergone abdominal surgery last week. He was 89.
Watson's career dates back to the '50s, but he got his big break in the early '60s and went on to become an influential guitarist and singer. He won seven Grammy Awards, plus a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
His career had slowed by the end of his life, although he continued to perform in recent years.
Doc was born Arthel Lane Watson in Deep Gap, NC, in 1923. He was blinded before his first birthday by an eye infection. He was born into a musical family and, prior to learning the guitar at age 13, his first instrument was the banjo. In 1947, he married Rosa Lee Carlton and the couple had two children, Eddy Merle and Nancy Ellen.
Watson is survived by his wife and children, in addition to two grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren.