Merle Haggard Hospitalized, Country Music Legend Forced To Cancel Tour Dates

Tara Dodrill

Merle Haggard has been hospitalized again. The legendary country music singer has been battling pneumonia since December. The "Mama Tried" singer had planned to perform with Marty Stuart today but has now rescheduled the performance for May 10. The rest of Haggard's March concert dates have also been postponed.

Because of the health issues, Merle Haggard had to either push back or cancel several dozen concert dates, People magazine reports. The performer attempted to make February tour dates even though they had officially been cancelled. Haggard's frail appearance at the shows reportedly caused concern for fans of the country music legend. One concert goer said Merle looked very weak and had difficulty even walking onto the stage.

— CMT (@CMT) March 2, 2016

During a recent interview, the 78-year-old Haggard stated very clearly that retiring is not something he is considering anytime soon. Merle plants to take to the stage and share his music with fans for as long as he is able.

In 2015, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded Django and Jimmie. After the album was released to rave reviews, Haggard said the pair of old buddies were grateful that they were having "such good luck" on the collaboration. Haggard and Nelson launched a short tour to promote the album. The first show reportedly sold out in just 10 minutes.

"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,'" Haggard told Rolling Stone.

— billboard (@billboard) March 2, 2016

In 2008, Merle Haggard had a "lemon-sized" cancerous tumor removed from his lungs. Haggard made what was deemed a remarkable and quick recovery from the procedure. Just two months after the surgery, the country music singer was already back in his studio writing songs.

The once-rowdy young man has come a long way from his humble roots. Haggard grew up during the Depression and developed a talent for both playing the guitar and singing at a very young age. His musical skill may have saved him from a life of mischief and crime. During his teen years, Haggard spent some time in various reform schools and county jails after he was arrested for both theft and fraud.

After finding his voice in the country music genre and getting some big hits under his belt, the youthful indiscretions gave way to a series of distinguished awards. In 1984, Haggard won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. In 1998, Merle earned another Grammy for Best Country Collaboration Vocals. He was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Country Music Television (CMT) in 2014.

[Photo by Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP]