Out friend and colleague Walter Trout Receives Liver Transplant

By KETV News
Published on June 23, 2014

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.

Walter Trout performing in 2013. Photo by Rooijen Photography

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.

Watch the news video here.

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.


Update June 22, 2014: here is part of the intro to his book “Rescued From Reality: The Life And Times Of Walter Trout” By Henry Yates and Walter Trout

In June 2013, while touring Germany, the guitarist awoke to the first signs that he had a liver disease that caused some cirrhosis of the organ. His health deteriorated but he continued to tour. He was eventually told that he needed a liver transplant within 90 days. Just recently, he received that transplant; his wife and manager, Marie, has said that he is doing well.

The Atlantic City-born guitarist may never have enjoyed the sort of superstardom attained by, say, Eric Clapton, but he is held in exceptionally high regard by many who love blues guitar. Jimmy Page, formerly of Led Zeppelin, thinks his work is “wonderful”; Mayall, in the foreword to this book, says he is one of the most talented rock and blues players on the world stage. ‘Whispering Bob’ Harris has said Trout is the world’s greatest rock guitarist. Trout really ought to be better known than he is.

The trouble was – and he is far from alone in this – that Trout was much too trusting of people he thought of as friends. It took the sharp-eyed business acumen of Marie, a former advertising executive in her native Denmark, to put him right. The couple married in September 1991, and are still together. Without her, Trout admits, “I’d be dead, or broke, or both.” He twists the knife in the back of those who ripped him off, in Willie, a song on his defiant new album, The Blues Came Callin’.

Trout says in the book that music, the blues, was his salvation. He wouldn’t necessarily make the same life-choices if he could have his time again. But regret is an elusive commodity.

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