Doc Watson Dies at 89

Doc Watson performs at the Coconut Grove on March 12, 1994 in Santa Cruz California. Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Folk music has lost a legend with the Tuesday passing of Doc Watson.

The guitarist died at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC at the age of 89, the Associated Press reports. Watson was hospitalized after falling in his home, and had been in critical condition following abdominal surgery.

The musician–who helped revolutionize the guitar's role in bluegrass and country music with his unique flat-picking style–had been blind since the age of 1 after developing an eye infection that was further complicated by a preexisting vascular condition. Though he learned to play both the harmonica and the banjo as a boy, his real passion lay with the guitar.

Watson, who made a home for himself in Deep Gap, NC, went on to win eight Grammys in his lifetime.

In 2011, music fans dedicated a life-size statue of Watson in Boone, NC; Watson requested the statue read "Just One of the People."

"Just as a good ol' down-to-earth boy that didn't think he was perfect and that loved music," Watson said at the time of how he'd like to be remembered. "And I'd like to leave quite a few friends behind and I hope I will. Other than that, I don't want nobody putting me on a pedestal when I leave here. I'm just one of the people . . . just me."

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