Country legend Merle Haggard has once again been forced to cancel upcoming tour dates over ongoing health issues.
UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, Haggard has been hospitalized in California for a recurring bout of double pneumonia. A statement from his publicist states that all of his concert appearances for the month of March have been postponed while he seeks treatment.
According to a press release, the “Okie From Muskogee” singer’s show with Marty Stuart in Jonesboro, Ark. on March 3 has now been rescheduled for May 10. The postponement is due to Haggard’s continued struggle to recover from a near-fatal bout with double pneumonia in December.
Since his hospitalization, he’s been forced to cancel or postpone dozens of tour dates because of his unstable health. Although his representatives formally cancelled all of his tour stops for the month of February, Haggard opted to try and play the shows anyway. His weak appearance during these dates concerned many fans, including one who told Nash Country Weekly that he could “could barely walk onto the stage” at his Feb. 13 show in Oakland, Calif.
Although Merle has made it clear in many interviews that he intends to perform for his fans for as long as possible, it seems as though Haggard needs to take the time to make a full recovery. Keeping a busy touring schedule so quickly after such a devastating illness is a poor choice for any performer, especially for a 78-year-old.
The cancellations may be a result of minor health issues that have arisen during his recovery. It is also possible that his severe illness has left lasting effects on his body that time may not ever be able to fully heal. Whatever the case may be, it may be time for the Hag to hang up his hat and take an extended hiatus from touring so he can continue to entertain fans for years to come.