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Merle Haggard Opens Up About Recent Health Scare

Merle haggard Songs | Merle Haggard Opens Up About Recent Health Scare | Country Music Videos
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

A few days after canceling the first two dates of his tour due to illness, Merle Haggard is ready to jump back in the saddle.

In December 2015, Haggard was forced to postpone the remainder of his tour dates for the year when he developed a bout of double pneumonia. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Haggard opens up about his health scare and recovery.

"I was coughing all the time. I thought, 'These damned old buildings have got something in them,'" Haggard says.  "I just didn't recognize it as what it was.

Determined to continue performing, Haggard tried his best to push through the pain. But during a performance on December 2, Haggard says that it became challenging for him to breathe, and he had to cancel the show.

"It was like suffocating, like having a pillow in your face," Haggard says. "It's a terrible thing; people die from it all the time."

Haggard went to the hospital the next day, and says it was only then that he realized how close he came to death:

"I had a double case of pneumonia about the size of grapefruit on each side. I had a pain that went all the way around from my belly button all the way around to my back. I asked the doctor, 'What was that pain?' 'It was death'...I'm really lucky to be alive. It could've gone in another direction had I messed around a little more."

Haggard spent 11 days recovering at California's Eisenhower Medical Center and additional time recovering in another facility. He originally planned to move forward with his shows in late January, but canceled the first two dates since he was still recovering and was worried about how the high elevation would affect him. 

But now, Haggard is more than ready for his show on Tuesday (Feb. 2) in Riverside, California. Not only is he looking forward to his tour, but another collaboration with his good pal, Willie Nelson. Haggard tells Rolling Stone that the two of them have started work on a follow up to their Django & Jimmie album.

"I'm still on top of things," Haggard says. "I'm doing a lot of writing and I'm just proud to be alive and hope that people realize that. I really sincerely thank everybody for the prayers."

It's good to hear that Haggard is feeling better and that he's able to return to touring! Anyone who's been to one of his concerts knows that he's a great performer. See for yourself in the video below, in which he performs his song "Running Kind."

We wish Haggard a continued recovery so he can keep playing music and doing what he loves!

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