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Country legend Randy Travis critically ill in hospital after suffering stroke

The 54-year-old suffered a stroke while being treated for congestive heart failure

Country Singer Randy Travis is in a critical condition after suffering a stroke in hospital, his publicist has said.

The 54-year-old singer suffered a stroke while being treated for congestive heart failure in hospital in Texas.

Travis’ spokesman Kirt Webster said the singer underwent surgery on Wednesday night to relieve pressure on his brain, but was still in a critical condition.

Webster said his illness was related to his “recently acquired viral cardiomyopathy”, a virus that attacks the heart causing the heart beat to slower.

He said: “His family and friends here with him at the hospital request your prayers and support. We will have updates as they become available.”

The country singer was initially hospitalised on Sunday with a presumptive cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure, according to his consultant Dr William Gray.

He was then transferred to a heart hospital in Texas to receive more specialist care, in which doctors implanted a device in his heart to help blood flow.

The singer has recently been on the road, performing in Detroit and Chicago at the end of last month. Webster said Travis appeared well during business meetings on Friday and Saturday, but the illness “hit him” on Sunday.

The singer underwent a difficult year in 2012 after being arrested for assault and driving while intoxicated, which earned him probation.

As one of country music's top-selling artists, Travis has won seven Grammys, 10 Academy of Country Music awards and 10 American Music Award statuettes.

His best-known songs include “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “Diggin' Up Bones” and “Deeper Than the Holler.”