Illness has forced Merle Haggard to postpone a string of concert dates. According to the country icon's Facebook, Haggard was admitted to an undisclosed California hospital where he's battling pneumonia.
Haggard canceled last week’s shows in Palm Desert, Riverside, Oakland and Wendover, Nevada. The 78-year-old entertainer was expected to recover in time for this week's shows in Las Vegas, Beverly Hills and Lemoore. Haggard’s website did not indicate those dates had been canceled.
But there was no word on that Monday. This past weekend, his son, fellow musician Ben Haggard, posted on Facebook, "He's getting some great treatment at the moment, keep the prayers coming!" Ben Haggard then shared the hashtag, "#prayers4merle."
In June, Haggard and his longtime pal Willie Nelson released “Django and Jimmie.” The collaborative LP debuted on top of the country chart and reached the Top Ten on the Billboard 200 — a first for Haggard, who first teamed with Nelson for the legendary Pancho and Lefty album in 1983. But in mid-October the Django and Jimmie Tour hit a minor snag before it began, with Nelson canceling and postponing some of the opening dates. The 82-year-old later revealed that he had undergone a stem-cell procedure to improve his lung health.
The friendship between the two stretches back to their first meeting: a poker game at Nelson's Nashville home in 1964. At the time, the two future members of the Country Music Hall of Fame were both struggling songwriters. To date, the pair has worked together on three LPs of duets. They also recorded albums with Ray Price and George Jones.