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.

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