After more than 65 years, Willie Nelson is giving up smoking weed.
The country singer, famous for his love of marijuana, said in an interview with a Texas television station that health issues and breathing difficulties have forced him to give it up for good. The 86-year-old said that decades of daily smoking did a number on his lungs, making breathing more difficult.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful,” Nelson told KSAT during a recent appearance in San Antonio.
Nelson added that he has been smoking since his youth, starting with cedar bark and moving on to cigarettes and then “to whatever.”
The legendary singer is now saving his lungs for his performances, saying that while he has fallen into poor health he has no plans to stop touring.
“I love the bus,” he said of his tour bus. “This is my home.”
Nelson said he still has a deep love for performing, saying he gets an “energy exchange” by being on stage as the crowd gives him a lot of positive energy and he hopes to give them some back in return.
Before being forced to give up weed, the country music legend had boasted about the medicinal powers of the drug. In an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year, he said that marijuana “saved his life” after he first smoked a joint in 1954. Nelson explained that the drug evened him out, helped to keep his temper down, and allowed him to stay away from drinking.
“I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around,” Nelson said.
Nelson said that he gave up smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey for good in the late 1970s, adding he had suffered too many nasty hangovers and on four different occasions caught pneumonia from it.
The singer added that he has been happy to see the country coming around to legalizing marijuana, as he believes it will be a benefit to society. Nelson added that he was pleased to know everything he had been saying about the drug’s medicinal qualities had been proven true.
While Nelson may not be smoking anymore, pot will still likely play a role in his life. As The Inquisitr noted, he launched a marijuana company called Willie’s Reserve.