When Merle Haggard announced on December 3 that he had checked into a California hospital to seek treatment for pneumonia, fans were anxious for updates on the country legend's health.
Besides one update Merle posted on December 7, fans were left in the dark as to how Merle's recovery was going. All they knew is that it was obviously taking longer than Merle had hoped, since he reluctantly postponed the remainder of his December tour dates.
Finally, on December 17, Merle gave an interview to Sirius XM Channel 59 "Willies Roadhouse" to let his worried fans know that he is now recovering. But as he also reveals, the road to recovery was not an easy one.
"A couple weeks ago I came in the hospital here, and I guess I was nearly dead," he says with a slight laugh, and although we're not sure if he's joking around, it sounds like the whole situation was more serious than Merle had expected.
Merle goes on to explain the severity of his illness, saying he actually had double pneumonia, which meant that both of his lungs were affected as opposed to just one:
"They couldn’t tell whether the cancer had returned or whether I just had pneumonia. They had to wait until they got the pneumonia under control before we could tell. So it’s been kind of a tough couple of weeks but I’ve got so many people to thank."
Merle says that one person he owes a huge thank you too is Gene Autry's widow, Jackie, who convinced him to go to the hospital.
"Without her I might not be alive...If I hadn’t had done that, I might not be here," he says. "We were up here doing a show, and I tried to go out and I couldn’t do it, and she talked me into coming into this hospital and getting some help."
Now that Merle is recovering, he wants to thank his fans for all of their prayers and concern over the course of the past few weeks, and he also has another big thank you to share.
"My wife and I both want to thank God for allowing me to have another Christmas," he says.
You can listen to part of Merle's interview with Willie's Roadhouse in the clip below.
We're so glad to hear that Merle is doing better! We'll continue to pray for his quick and complete recovery.
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