In 2005, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" was selected for the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit. The following year, the 1972 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band record "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," on which Scruggs was one of many famous guest performers, joined the list, too.
Scruggs had been fairly active in the 2000s, returning to a limited touring schedule after frail health in the 1990s. In 1996, he'd suffered a heart attack in the recovery room of a hospital shortly after hip-replacement surgery. He also was hospitalized late last year, but seemed in good health during a few appearances with his sons in 2010 and 2011.
In 2001, he released the CD "Earl Scruggs and Friends," his first album in a decade and an extension of The Earl Scruggs Revue. Over 12 songs, he collaborated with an impressive stable of admirers: Elton John, Dwight Yoakam, Travis Tritt, Sting, Melissa Etheridge, Vince Gill, John Fogerty, Don Henley, Johnny Cash and actor Steve Martin, a banjo player, were all featured.
Scruggs, born Jan. 6, 1924, in Flint Hill, N.C., began learning to play banjo at age 4. He appeared at age 11 on a radio talent scout show. By age 15, he was playing in bluegrass bands.
"My music came up from the soil of North Carolina," Scruggs said in 1996 when he was honored with a heritage award from his home state.
He and Flatt played together in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, then left to form the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1948.
Their popularity grew, and they even became a focal point of the folk music revival on college campuses in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Scruggs' wife, Louise, was their manager and was credited with cannily guiding their career as well as boosting interest in country music.
Later, as rock 'n' roll threatened country music's popularity, Flatt and Scruggs became symbols of traditional country music.
In the 1982 interview, Scruggs said "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Beverly Hillbillies" broadened the scope of bluegrass and country music "more than anything I can put my finger on. Both were hits in so many countries."
Scruggs also wrote an instructional book, "Earl Scruggs and the Five String Banjo."
In 1992, he was among 13 recipients of a National Medal of Art.
"I never in my wildest dreams thought of rewards and presentations," he said. "I appreciate those things, especially this one."
Louise Scruggs, his wife of 57 years, died in 2006. His two sons, Gary and Randy, survive him.
Gary Scruggs said late Wednesday that funeral arrangements are incomplete.