Grammy-award winning folk guitarist Doc Watson, 89, died Tuesday at a hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, according to USA Today. Blind since the age of 1, Watson recently underwent abdominal surgery that resulted in his hospitalization. Watson was known for lightning-fast flatpicking on the guitar and helped usher in the instrument's dominance in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was mainly used as a backup.

Longtime friend and collaborator David Holt called Watson one of the best. "Overall, Doc will be remembered as one of America's greatest folk musicians. I would say he's one of America's greatest musicians," Holt told the Christian Science Monitor. "He had a great way of presenting traditional songs and making them accessible to a modern audience. Not just accessible, but truly engaging."

Seven of Watson's albums won Grammy awards, and his eighth Grammy was a lifetime achievement award in 2004. He also received the National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton in 1997.

You can watch a 1991 video of Watson performing "Deep River Blues" here:

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