After calling off a performance minutes before taking the stage in Riverside, California, on February 2nd, Merle Haggard has canceled the remainder of the month's scheduled shows.
According to a statement from Haggard's publicist, the pioneer of the Bakersfield Sound is "still feeling weak from his recent struggle with double pneumonia and has decided to seek further treatment." Haggard spent 11 days last month in California's Eisenhower Medical Center. "Merle is hopeful he will be back on the road later in the spring," the statement concludes, directing fans to his website for updates.
Haggard recently recounted his health issues to Rolling Stone. "I'm really lucky to be alive," he says. "It could've gone in another direction had I messed around a little more."
The Country Music Hall of Famer member was to launch his 2016 tour in late January in New Mexico. Fears over the region's high elevation, however, led him to cancel the first two dates. At a December 2nd show in Palm Desert, California, Haggard had trouble breathing.
"It was like suffocating, like having a pillow in your face," he says. "It's a terrible thing; people die from it all the time."
Canceled February dates aside, Haggard is set to play a string of shows in the South beginning in March, including a two-night engagement at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.