Merle Haggard Hospitalized

Country legend cancels concerts due to respiratory illness

January 18, 2012 1:45 PM ET
merle haggard
Merle Haggard performs at Route 66 Casino's Legends Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Steve Snowden/Getty Images

Country music great Merle Haggard has been admitted to a hospital in Macon, Georgia, suffering from a reported respiratory illness. The 74-year-old singer – best known for songs including "Mama Tried," "Okie from Muskogee" and "Sing Me Back Home" – was about to take the stage for a show on Tuesday night when it was determined that he was too sick to perform.

Haggard's tour manager, Frank Mull, acknowledged that the singer wasn't well when he left his California home to go on tour. "He thought he was well enough to work and he did work three dates, and he got progressively worse," said Mull.  

Before the setback, Haggard's career remained in full swing. He recently released his ninth album in 11 years, Working in Tennessee, and he appeared with other big-name artists on The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Haggard is often credited as an originator of the "Bakersfield Sound."

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