DFW musician among possible flu-related deaths in North Texas

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by TERESA WOODARD / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 8:53 AM

FORT WORTH — Baylor's North Texas sites reported a combined 175 patients Thursday night, bringing the total to 469 since Dec. 1, 2013.

Baylor and JPS in Fort Worth both instituted Code Yellow alerts this week.

"We may do things like canceling meetings so more staff can attend to patient care needs," said Gary Floyd, chief medical officer at John Peter Smith Hospital.

Updated numbers of fatal flu cases are expected to be revealed by Dallas County Friday, and a well-loved local musician is one suspected case.

"It's almost unfathomable that I talked to him two days ago," said Wil Riggs, lead singer of the blues band Texas Cotton Kings.

Donnie Nix, 60, played keyboard. His name and face are well known, but better known is his sound. 

"His sound was our sound," Riggs said. "Without him, our music was just plain music."

"He came from New Orleans," he continued. "He did live sound all over New Orleans, playing for bands up and down Bourbon Street ... He really had a huge influence on how I approach a show."

Nix went into the hospital last week, said Ryon Thompson, guitarist with Texas Cotton Kings. 

"It basically started with him not being able to breathe," he said.

But Nix bounced back this week. His fellow band members even talked with him about getting out and back to playing. But, he took a turn for the worse and died late Wednesday night. His family says he died of pneumonia and flu.

"He's one of those people that when you're around, they lift you up," Thompson said. "And that's what probably is going to be the biggest thing I miss about him, not being there to lift spirits."

They said Nix fought pneumonia before, so he had underlying medical conditions. But, both are in shock. 

"You know, Donnie wouldn't want us to not play anymore," Riggs said. "So, we'll have to play again, but it's going to be hard."

Email twoodard@wfaa.com

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