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.
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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]