Merle Haggard Says He Was “Nearly Dead” in Pneumonia Scare
“A couple of weeks ago I came in the hospital here, and I guess I was . . . I guess I was nearly dead. I had a double pneumonia.”
These were the words of Merle Haggard as he called into Willie’s Roadhouse on SiriusXM Thursday (12-17) to let fans know he was doing better, and to thank them for their prayers and support. The 78-year-old first was admitted to the hospital on December 2nd, unable to perform due to the illness. He eventually was forced to cancel the rest of his tour dates throughout December. At the time we knew Merle Had pneumonia, but we are just now learning how serious the illness was.
“They couldn’t tell whether I had Cancer returned or whether I just had pneumonia,” Merle says. “They had to wait until they had the pneumonia under control before we could tell. So it’s been kind of a tough couple of weeks.”
Merle was diagnosed with lung Cancer in May of 2008, and had surgery to remove part of the upper lobe of his right lung that had a lemon-sized tumor growing on it.
Merle specifically thanked Gene Autry’s widow Jackie for convincing him he needed medical treatment. “Without her I might not be alive. She talked me into coming into this Eisenhower Medical Center out here in the desert and getting some help. And if I hadn’t of done that, I may not be here. 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 going getting some help.”
Merle also thanked all the doctors and nurses who helped him in his recovery.
“My band had to go home, and I want to thank them for putting up with me. And I want to thank all those fans down there in Texas for taking a moment to pray for me, ’cause there’s been prayers from all over the world and I want to thank the fans for doing that because it certainly got the job done . . . My wife and I both want to thank God for allowing me to have another Christmas. It looks like I’m going to make it to one.”
You can hear Merle’s entire call below.
December 17, 2015 @ 2:44 pm
So glad to hear Merle is doing better. He means a great deal to me. In my opinion, he is the greatest there ever was. God bless him.
December 17, 2015 @ 2:50 pm
God bless him, and prayers for his continued well-being. He’s still hanging in here and standing tough for country music. Not a lemming, is Mr Haggard.
December 17, 2015 @ 7:02 pm
Fantastic news. This world would be made lesser without him. Very happy he’s doing good.
December 17, 2015 @ 7:10 pm
Thanks Trigger, for keeping us up to date on Merle. He is a very important person to me, and I wish
him nothing but the best.
Root Beer Man
December 17, 2015 @ 7:19 pm
Thank God! glad you’re doing better Mr. Haggard here’s wishing you good health for many more years to come!
December 17, 2015 @ 8:43 pm
I listen to Merle every single day over and over. Hes on my playlist for the gym and I got him 7 days a week. I am very thankful that my wife and I saw him twice this year. I really hope we get to see him again in 2016 knowing that its getting tougher for him to stay on the road. This man is an American music treasure and one day he will be gone. Anyone that passes up the chance to see him before his carreer comes to an end will regret it.
December 17, 2015 @ 9:05 pm
I don’t now how some of these seventy and eighty-something year old performers keep up these schedules as someone who has parents around that age who are in fairly good health but are nowhere near where they were physically even ten years ago. And I’m not just talking about the actual concerts but also the travel which can be very exhausting for people of that age.
More power to them I guess for continuing to do what they love.
December 18, 2015 @ 1:19 pm
There’s much to be said for doing what one loves. My father never missed a day of work in over 40 years, but soon after he retired, his health immediately went south & never got to enjoy his retirement, and died in a very few years, and my mother’s health failed trying to take care of him, too. Both in just their 60s.More power to the seniors to keep going as long as they can enjoy it.
December 17, 2015 @ 9:29 pm
“More power to them I guess for continuing to do what they love.”
Scotty , I firmly believe that doing what you love is perhaps the biggest factor in getting to those VERY advanced years with a happy , healthy outlook . Use it …or Lose it ….!
December 17, 2015 @ 9:42 pm
Yeah maybe but at some point your body is telling you to slow down or you’re going to be the guy that keels over and dies on stage. But maybe that is the way some of these guys would want to go out.
December 18, 2015 @ 11:47 am
‘But maybe that is the way some of these guys would want to go out.’
Would you rather go wired up and wheezing in a hospital bed or singing your favourite song to folks who want to hear you sing it ? If I’m not doing music , I hope I have the ‘ big one’ paddling a kayak and the current carries me to God -knows – where .
December 18, 2015 @ 12:29 pm
Doesn’t have to be either/or I guess is my point.
December 17, 2015 @ 10:25 pm
Thankful he pulled though, prayers for a continuing recovery, Merle! God bless you and your family.
December 18, 2015 @ 12:30 am
i got pneumonia in november. that was brutal. cant imagine double pneumonia. atta boy Merle! that must of been some shit..
December 18, 2015 @ 12:57 am
Thank goodness that he survived. May he continue to live happily for decades to come.
December 18, 2015 @ 7:23 am
I always get nervous when I hear of a senior having pneumonia. Very serious. Glad to hear that the cancer hasn’t returned.
December 18, 2015 @ 7:25 am
I wish I had the set list from the first show I ever played. If there weren’t at least 5 Merle Haggard songs on it I would be shocked. 35+ years is too long to remember for sure.
I prefer Merle over Willie, Johnny, Elvis, Waylon–perty much everbody ‘cept Hank I hisself. 🙂
So glad Merle has more life left in him. Best wishes to him.
December 18, 2015 @ 7:45 am
I guess he is going make it through December.