Singer Doc Watson in critical condition, hospital says

Fri May 25, 2012 12:01am EDT
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By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Grammy winning folk musician Doc Watson is in critical condition at a North Carolina hospital, a representative for the medical facility said on Thursday.

The 89-year-old Watson is a singer of bluegrass, country, blues and gospel who is famous for his flatpicking style on the guitar and his interpretations of folk songs from bygone eras.

Watson, a native of North Carolina, is in critical condition at Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, said Karen Richardson, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

She declined to release any other information about Watson, including when he was admitted and for what health problem.

North Carolina newspaper the Watauga Democrat reported that, according to Watson's friend Tommy Walsh, he was hospitalized on Monday at Watauga Medical Center for an infection, and was transferred on Thursday to Baptist Medical Center. Walsh told the paper he did not know why Watson was transferred.

Watson has won seven Grammy Awards, in addition to a Grammy for lifetime achievement he received in 2004. Most recently, he won in 2006 in the category of best country instrumental performance for his playing on "Whiskey Before Breakfast."

For much of his career, Watson toured and recorded with his son, Merle Watson. Doc Watson's most popular recordings include the songs "Tom Dooley," "Shady Grove" and "Rising Sun Blues."

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Mohammad Zargham)