Talented guitarist overcomes medical setbacks in inspiring way - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Talented guitarist overcomes medical setbacks in inspiring way

Pete Huttlinger Pete Huttlinger

A master guitarist could fill several songs with the story he has to tell. Pete Huttlinger has already survived a stroke and a heart attack, but he isn't letting the effects keep him from the music.

Huttlinger is an incredible talent with an incredible attitude.

He has played with John Denver, LeAnn Rimes and many others. One of his trademark numbers is to play Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition,' somehow making the guitar sound like all the parts.

But his world was changed in 2010 with a massive stroke. Not only that, the blood clot on his brain was causing huge problems.

Doctors said he could remain paralyzed or risk a 50 percent chance of death with the operation. Pete chose the operation with two silent thumbs up.

"I was paralyzed for a day or two maybe, then I slowly started coming out of it," Huttlinger said. "It was one of those Hallmark movie moments, you know, where the doctor comes in and says, 'Pete, can you move your hand?' And I didn't move my hand, so the doctor starts to walk out. And then my finger twitched. My wife said, 'Wait, his finger twitched, come back.' And you could hear the music rising."

Huttlinger slowly relearned to play the guitar with a right hand that at one point couldn't even hold a fork.

"Everything was tough, but I got through that and then had heart failure," he said.

Transported by medical plane to Houston to be fitted with an experimental machine to keep his heart beating, Huttlinger was in the hospital for four months.

Now he is recovering and he even walked the St. Jude Country Music Marathon wearing an external heart pumping device.

It's a marvel to everyone, including his friend and cardiologist, Dr. Frank Fish.

"Words can barely describe where he's been and what he's bounced back from and still maintain such an eternally positive outlook on life," Fish said.

And now this amazing man has just finished an amazing album, McGuire's Landing. It is a story of a journey by a man who knows a long road.

"I don't really like wearing the badge of, 'hey, here's a guy with a heart pump.' I just like to be a regular guy at the bar with a beer hanging out with my buddies," Huttlinger said.

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