Ricky Skaggs underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery last year, after doctors discovered severe blockage in his heart. The news came as a shock to the Country Music Hall of Fame member, who was forced to suddenly slow down after a life of moving full speed ahead.
“Bluegrass music is pretty fast,” Skaggs reflected to WKRN. “I mean it starts at 75 and goes to 100.”
Skaggs started noticing that he was having some breathing issues, but was unaware that those problems could be related to his heart.
“The craziest excuse I had, I thought my heart was over here,” Skaggs said, pointing to his chest. “This pain is right here in the middle, so maybe that’s just acid reflux.”
Skaggs’ story might have had a tragic ending, if not for an unexpected phone call his wife, Sharon White, received, which forced him to take a hard look at his life, and his health.
“She said ‘Cheryl’s had a stroke,'” the 66-year-old recalled. “Her sister. She said ‘I’m okay. I’m in the emergency room.’ I’m telling you, there was no more putting it off after that.”
When Skaggs finally went to the doctor, it didn’t take long for him to realize the situation was much more serious than he originally thought.
“We’ve already checked with the surgeon,” Skaggs recalled the doctor telling White. “We feel he’s going to need bypass surgery.”
Skaggs was understandably nervous about having heart surgery, but reveals he felt inexplicable peace when it came time for his operation, thanks to his strong Christian faith.
“I prayed a lot that day,” Skaggs shares. “I felt that God said ‘You’re going to be all right,’ and I saw it as two words: all right,”
Now that it is behind him, Skaggs has a new lease on life, and is ready to hit the road again, as soon as it is safe.
“I’m so gad that I did it. I’m so glad I did it,” Skaggs says. He also has an admonition for others, who may be putting their own concerns aside because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“When you get the signs, don’t be fearful even of COVID,” he urges. “Just don’t be afraid of it because your health is more important.”
Skaggs previously said he knows his story could have turned out much differently, had he been on the road.
“I have thanked the Lord hundreds of times that I wasn’t out in the middle of Texas on a tour bus, miles away from a hospital,” Skaggs told People. “It was a major blessing I didn’t have a heart attack. Nothing was hurt, and nothing was destroyed or irreparable. It was just by the mercy and grace of God that all of this happened in this way.”
Skaggs, along with Toby Keith, received the National Medal of Arts by President Trump in January, only a few days before Trump exited the White House.