Merle Haggard has canceled all of his April concert dates in order to rest while he recovers from a continuing bout with double pneumonia. Affected shows include stops in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas where Haggard was slated to share the bill with his friend Willie Nelson.
“I want to thank my fans for their prayers and well wishes,” said Haggard in a statement from his publicist. “I hope to be back on the road in May, but I’m taking it one day at a time.”
The country icon, whose 1968 single “Mama Tried” was recently selected for the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, has been forced to cancel or postpone numerous dates in 2016 over health concerns. He was originally diagnosed with double pneumonia and hospitalized in December, made a very brief return to the stage in February but postponed his dates through March on orders to rest and recuperate.
Prior to February, Haggard spoke to Rolling Stone about his health battles, 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.'”
Presently Haggard has shows scheduled for May 10th and 11th with Marty Stuart. Meanwhile, Jamey Johnson and Ryan Bingham are filling in on the dates with Nelson.