Merle Haggard Postpones March Tour After Pneumonia Returns

Country legend has been battling illness, calling off concerts since last December

Merle Haggard was forced to call off his March tour after being hospitalized with pneumonia again Credit: Mike Brooks/Getty

Merle Haggard has postponed his March tour after being hospitalized in California due to a recurring bout of double pneumonia.

Per a statement, doctors want Haggard to take one more month off to recuperate. He's been battling pneumonia for much of the winter and has been forced to call off a handful of concerts, starting with a string of dates last December. The 78-year-old is expected to return to the road April 7th at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Haggard spent 11 days in the hospital after his first health scare, and was scheduled to return to the stage in early February. However, he canceled the trek just hours before his first show back in order to seek further treatment.

Right before he called off his February dates, Haggard spoke with Rolling Stone about his fight with pneumonia saying, "I had a pain that went all the way around from my belly button all the way around to my back. I asked the doctor, 'What was that pain?' He said, 'It was death.'"

But while he recovered, Haggard said he and his band continued to rehearse new material for another album with Willie Nelson, a follow-up to 2015's, Django and Jimmie. "We're having such good luck," he said of the collaboration. "Our names together seem to be magic. Our first show together for the tour went on sale in Springfield and sold out in 10 minutes. The records are selling and it's a hard time to sell records! So we can't deny the success of it all."