Ricky Skaggs Opens Up About Quadruple Heart Bypass

Thank goodness he's ok!

Written by Chris Parton
Ricky Skaggs Opens Up About Quadruple Heart Bypass
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 22: Ricky Skaggs speaks during the 2019 Musicians Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Concert at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on October 22, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Country and bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs has opened up about a medical emergency experienced last summer, telling People about the quadruple heart bypass he underwent in June.

Explaining that he’s now back to feeling “150 percent,” the mandolin-playing favorite went under the knife at Nashville’s Centennial Medical Center — and it was a close call. For months he’d been experiencing mild symptoms like a tightness in his chest and shortness of breath, but over and over the Grammy winner put the worries out of his mind. Then after a regular checkup and CT scan of his heart, doctors told Skaggs they wanted to do an angiogram… and four days after that he was on the table.

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The surgery was a complete success, but Skaggs knows he was lucky. If not for the tour shutdowns that kept him and his band, Kentucky Thunder, off the road, something terrible could have happened.

“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,” he explains. “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.”

Heart surgeon Dr. Sreekumar “Kumar” Subramanian performed Skaggs’ procedure, People reports, and after that the country star spent four days in the hospital to recover. But now he’s back to work and feeling much better than he did before. No more shortness of breath or struggling to sing his own songs, and he even returned to the Grand Ole Opry stage in September. It was a close call that has ultimate reinforced Skaggs’ faith in God’s grace — but he’s careful to say he learned an important lesson.

“Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today,” he says. “That surgery gave me a brand-new heart. Not only a real heart, but a spiritual heart that has now been cleaned out, so I can hear Him better than ever before.”