Country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs reveals that he underwent a quadruple bypass over the summer.
PEOPLE reports that Skaggs and his wife Sharon White were set to travel to North Carolina in June to visit their son. But after Skaggs' six-month checkup and a CT scan of his heart, Skaggs' doctors wanted him to go in for an angiogram.
Days later, Skaggs underwent a quadruple bypass on his heart at the Centennial Medical Center in Nashville.
"Scripture tells us God always knows the thoughts of man," Skaggs tells PEOPLE. "That was proven to me at that moment, because while I did not speak it from my mouth, I thought about putting the angiogram off for a week. When I thought that thought, it was like I saw the Lord with a jeweler's eye glass on. He was peering at me but never said a word. But just by His look, I knew He was saying, 'Absolutely no.' It put the fear of God in me. He had given me so many grace situations, but He was serious that I needed to take care of this now."
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Skaggs, who had been noticing a tightness in his chest and shortness of breath, told the magazine he's grateful that he wasn't caught off-guard while on tour.
"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 said. "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."
The Country Music Hall of Famer said he got emotional when hearing his doctor recount the surgery.
"He told me that when he was finished with the bypasses, he literally was holding my heart in his hand, and my heart literally leapt in his hands when the blood started flowing through it again," Skaggs said. "I just started bawling. It was the most incredible thing I have ever heard in my life."
The "Country Boy" and "Highway 40 Blues" singer-songwriter said the experience strengthened his faith.
"That surgery gave me a brand-new heart," Skaggs said. "Not only a real heart, but a spiritual heart that has now been cleaned out, so I can hear Him better than ever before."
Skaggs, a master of the mandolin, got his start performing with bluegrass icon Ralph Stanley alongside Keith Whitley. Today, the Grammy Award-winning performer and Grand Ole Opry member performs with his band Kentucky Thunder.
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