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Banjo master Earl Scruggs dead at 88

March 28, 2012 at 10:41 PM   |   Comments

NASHVILLE, March 28 (UPI) -- Bluegrass icon and banjo master Earl Scruggs died Wednesday at a Nashville hospital, his family said. He was 88.

CMT.com confirmed the musician's death, but didn't report the cause of it.

The North Carolina native is perhaps best known for performing with Lester Flatt the theme for "The Beverly Hillbillies" television series. The frequent collaborators won a Grammy Award in 1969 for "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and were inducted together into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985.

Throughout his career, Scruggs played with Zeke and Wiley Morris, Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, the Carolina Wildcats, Lost John Miller, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Foggy Mountain Boys.

Among the classic songs Scruggs recorded with Monroe were "Blue Grass Breakdown," "Heavy Traffic Ahead," "Why Did You Wander," "Will You Be Loving Another Man," "Molly and Tenbrooks" and "I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky," CMT.com said.

Back problems forced Scruggs to stop touring extensively in 1980 but he continued to perform occasionally and record new music until shortly before his death, the country music Web site said.

He won a Grammy for his 2001 version of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," featuring Steve Martin and Vince Gill, and was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.

Scruggs' wife and longtime manager Louise died in 2006. He is survived by two sons, Gary and Randy, both of Nashville. A third son, Steve, died in 1992.

Funeral arrangements are pending, CMT.com said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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