Merle Haggard has had a rough couple months.
The legendary singer was forced to cancel concerts in early December due to a bout with pneumonia. He was hospitalized for a few days, where he "nearly died", according to Haggard.
He resumed touring shortly after, but was again forced to cancel his January 30th show in New Mexico. His youngest son, Ben, who is his lead guitarist, confirmed that the cancellation was due to Haggard's health.
"He's just still recovering from pneumonia," he tweeted. "Takes awhile to get back to normal!"
Haggard also cancelled concerts on February 2nd and 3rd. His publicist Tresa Redburn released a statement to CMT that he has canceled the "remainder of his February tour dates because of his health."
"He is still feeling weak from his recent struggle with double pneumonia and has decided to seek further treatment for it,” Redburn said. “Merle is hopeful he will be back on the road later in the spring. Check back at www.merlehaggard.com for updates.”
Just days after making that statement, Haggard was back on stage. According to Oakland, California audience member Gary Bacon, Haggard "could barely walk onto the stage. He didn't need a hand or a cane, but he needed time, time to get the mic."
While performing his planned set, Bacon said most of it was "spoken more than sung." While he struggled throughout the show, he finished strong. He told the crowd, "I love this guitar even more than God loves the poor, but I love you even more."
Recovering from pneumonia at any age is a difficult feat and Haggard may need a little more time for his lungs to heal completely.
According to his website, he is scheduled to perform next on March 3rd in Arkansas with special guest Marty Stuart. This will give him a few more weeks to feel better.
We are continuing to pray for Merle's recovery.
Take a look at Haggard performing "Okie from Muskogee" at his Santa Rosa show on Feb. 10 below.
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