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Doc Watson Dies at 89

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Doc Watson performs at the Coconut Grove on March 12, 1994 in Santa Cruz California.

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.

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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.

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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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