MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular Twin Cities musician is doing something that seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.

Aaron “Hix” Lee spent nearly a month in the hospital after a robber shot him in the stomach northeast Minneapolis. Officers arrested the robbers last month.

Hix returned to the stage Wednesday night at Mortimer’s in Minneapolis Wednesday night.

The keyboardist has played at Mortimer’s dozens of times with his band the Red Daughters, but what used to be an ordinary occasion is now extraordinary.

At 31, Hix didn’t picture himself using a cane, nor did he imagine what could happen.

RELATED: 2 Charged In String Of Armed Robberies, Including Musician Shooting

He sat down inside the 331 Club to relive the night he barely lived through.

“He popped out from behind a tree and he said, ‘Give me your wallets and your phone,’ and I thought it was a joke, I didn’t see he had a gun,” Hix said.

aaron hix lee ‘I’m Happy To Be Alive’: Musician Aaron ‘Hix’ Lee Returns To The Stage Weeks After Being Shot

Aaron “Hix” Lee (credit: CBS)

Hix and his girlfriend Katie handed over their valuables to the armed robber.

“I just remember kind of a burning feeling in my stomach and pressure in my hip, and I remember just kind of gently falling to the ground, and then I remember Katie getting very upset about it,” he said.

There was a lot to be upset about. Hix took a bullet to the stomach that hit a main vein in his leg.

“Had to think there, ‘I could die,’ and I had to confront that right away, and in a way that almost helped,” Hix said. “Because anything less than dying is … better [laughs]!”

After nearly a month in the hospital, and extensive skin grafting to his leg, he is surviving. He didn’t have insurance, but he did have a flood of support from friends and family.

“I’m happy to be alive. I don’t carry any ill will about it, you know, I’m just happy for the people in my life,” he said. “Ready to sing and play music again, and ready to just be normal again.”

Hix says he is deeply grateful for Katie, his family, friends, Pizza Nea and Mortimer’s — who held fundraisers for him — the staff at Hennepin Healthcare, and for all of you who followed his story and offered prayers and support.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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