Doctors: Randy Travis in congestive heart failure - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Doctors: Randy Travis in congestive heart failure

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Country singer Randy Travis performs at the 2013 CMA Music Festival in Nashville. AP photo Country singer Randy Travis performs at the 2013 CMA Music Festival in Nashville. AP photo
By CHRIS TALBOTT, AP Music Writer

NASHVILLE, TN (AP) - Country music star Randy Travis is showing signs of improvement but still has congestive heart failure because of a viral respiratory illness he contracted, doctors said Wednesday.

Drs. William Gray and Michael Mack of the Baylor Health Care System described Travis' condition and hospitalization in a video statement.

"His condition has stabilized, and he has shown signs of improvement," Mack said in the video. "On behalf of his Mr. Travis' family, friends and associates, we would like to express our extreme gratitude for the overwhelming affection and support that Mr. Travis has received."

The 54-year-old Grammy Award-winning singer was in good health until three weeks before he was hospitalized, when he contracted a viral upper respiratory infection, Gray said.

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That led to a case of viral cardiomyopathy, a heart condition caused by the virus that infected his heart muscle, causing it to become weakened and enlarged so that it could not pump properly.

Travis was admitted to Baylor Medical Center McKinney near his home in Tioga through the emergency room on Sunday. The singer underwent a procedure to have a pump installed by catheter that helps increase blood flow before being transferred to The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano.

The North Carolina-born Travis is a traditional country purist who is a pivotal figure in the genre best known for his hits "Forever and Ever, Amen" and "Three Wooden Crosses." His Warner Bros. debut album "Storms of Life" sold 3 million copies and helped return country music to its roots.

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The illness comes as Travis has been trying to put his life back together after a series of embarrassing public incidents involving alcohol. Travis pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in January following an arrest last year and received two years probation and a $2,000 fine. He was required to spend at least 30 days at an alcohol treatment facility and complete 100 hours of community service.

He recently made several public appearances, including a spot on the Country Music Association Festival's nightly concert lineup and a poignant performance at George Jones' funeral.

His peers and fans have been watching Travis' progress closely.

"I always feel like he's part of our family, he's in our family," Keith Urban said Wednesday morning. "And I was one of those guys in Australia that bought 'Storms of Life' and became a Randy fan very quickly in late '80s, and I really feel for him right now."

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Associated Press reporter Kristin M. Hall contributed to this report in Nashville.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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