SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA) -- Just one day shy of his 74th birthday, local bluegrass legend Mike Auldridge lost his battle with cancer.
He become well-known for taking the "dobro" guitar to a new level.
The life-long D.C. resident played with a band he co-founded, The Seldom Scene, every Thursday night to a sold-out crowd at the Birchmere music hall in Alexandria, Virginia.
"It's always a shock especially when you lose a legend a friend. In the business, he'll always be the king, the man," said Birchmere owner Gary Oelze.
According to family member, Auldridge passed away Saturday morning in hospice care. An album he recently recorded is expected to come out next year.
Auldridge is survived by his wife Elise and their two daughters.
The National Endowment for the Arts released the following statement of aboutNEA National Heritage Fellow Mike Auldridge:
"It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellow and master Dobro musician Mike Auldridge. Over the course of his celebrated career, Auldridge innovated the use of the Dobro, influencing the development of contemporary bluegrass and country music and paving the way for other Dobro musicians such as Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes. Auldridge performed as a member of such Maryland groups as the Seldom Scene and also as a solo artist. He recorded with musicians such as Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Patty Loveless, Lyle Lovett, Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Hank Williams, Jr., and Bill Monroe. During the 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert in October 2012, Rob Ickes described the influence of Auldridge on the development of the Dobro: 'You can draw a line at Mike Auldridge. The Dobro is played with a metal bar, metal finger picks, and metal strings. There is a lot of room for noise. This guy figured out how to get rid of the noise and just leave the music.' We join many others in the bluegrass community and beyond in mourning the loss of Mike Auldridge while celebrating his life and enormous musical contributions."