Jerry Jeff Walker Is Recovering From Throat Cancer

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photo: Kevin Smith

Texas country music legend and revered songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker has revealed that he’s been suffering from throat Cancer, and recently experienced some health setbacks during his treatment and recovery. Citing that he and his camp did not want a lot of publicity about the Cancer diagnosis until after he responded well to treatment, it was revealed Thursday (9-28) in an email to close fans that during his recovery, Jerry Jeff developed pneumonia and a blood infection that was said to be “an understatement to call a setback.”

But according to the Jerry Jeff Walker camp, he is now over the hump and on his way to a full recovery, with no affect to his singing voice. The illness is now being revealed as the reason for his recent disappearance from the public eye.

The 75-year-old, known most notably for penning the iconic song “Mr. Bojangles,” was one of the primary catalysts for creating the world-class music scene in Austin, TX that would later launch Willie Nelson and others to superstardom. Though he started his career as mostly a folk artists, records like Walker’s Viva Terlingua were decidedly country in style, and helped increase the name recognition of fellow songwriters such as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Guy Clark, and the Lost Gonzo Band with Gary P. Nunn.

Jerry Jeff was diagnosed this summer with throat cancer,” reads the note to fans. “The prognosis was good (as good as it can be considering….isolated and treatable). It was his wish to get through the treatment before sharing the news. The good news is that the treatment is now over. The bad news is that in the middle of his 6th week of the 7 week treatment, he developed not only pneumonia but a blood infection as well. It is an understatement to call this a set-back, but he has fought it off and now is well into recovery. Because of this he will now be in rehab for a few weeks to get his strength back. His voice is strong and he is issuing orders to us all, so we know the Scamp is back!!”

However a series of upcoming shows have been affected by Jerry Jeff’s prolonged recovery.

There will have to be shows in November either cancelled or re-scheduled,” says the note. “We are sorry for this, but just know that he will be back sharing his stories with you all in the future! Thanks for understanding his wish to get through this without too much attention. I know many of you have dealt with similar issues either yourself or with loved ones. It is tough, but does hone ones perspective on what is important.”