Walter on KETV News

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OMAHA, Neb. —A popular blues guitarist has traveled the world performing for the last 40 years, but it was a trip to Omaha that changed his life.

Walter Trout, 63, came to the Nebraska Medical Center seven weeks ago to await a transplant that he desperately needed for his failing liver.

According to his wife, Marie Trout, his health started declining a year ago. Even with his health condition, he refused to stop performing. He played in more than 100 shows last year even though he was practically dying on stage.

“They (fans) gave him such support and love, and as he became weaker and weaker, his way of playing changed slightly,” said Marie.


Marie said they came to the Nebraska Medical Center because it was highly recommended by other musicians, and doctors said Walter had better odds of finding a liver in Omaha.

“We are in the center of the country which makes it easier for organs to be transported to us, as opposed to other parts of the country, and the sicker you are, the higher you move up on the [transplant] list,” said Dr. David Mercer, Walter’s transplant surgeon.

Mercer said that in some cases, the Nebraska Medical Center would perform transplants on patients when other programs wouldn’t. On Monday morning, the Trouts learned Walter would be getting the liver he had been waiting for.

Someone's decision to be a donor could save the lives of many. In an interview with KETV NewsWatch 7, Marie was sure to stress how important it is to register to become an organ donor.

“That organ donor is everything to us from now on. Talk about a Memorial Day hero -- that is our champion,” said Marie.

During surgery, Mercer and his team played Walter’s songs for the duration of the transplant.

“They were cool enough to appreciate his art,” said Marie.

In Walter’s new album, he sings about second chances and finding the strength to live.

“Then I heard the voice inside me and it sounded like a cry, and I heard it say loudly, this ain’t your time to die,” Walter’s lyrics read.

 The song “Bottom of the River” is on Walter’s new album, which is set to release in the U.S. on June 10.

Walter will stay at the Nebraska Medical Center as doctors monitor his new liver. He is looking to regain his strength to go back on tour next year. He hopes to play in Omaha as a thank you. 

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