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Merle Haggard resumes tour following bout with pneumonia

Veteran country singer and songwriter Merle Haggard has rebounded from his recent bout with double pneumonia, and will play some of the shows his illness forced him to postpone, including a date Thursday, Feb. 11, in Beverly Hills with Kris Kristofferson.

Haggard, 78, returned to the stage over the weekend for a show at the Mandalay Bay Ballroom in Las Vegas, where he was joined by fellow country musician Toby Keith.

Along with the L.A.-area show with Kristofferson, Haggard is slated for other stops this week on Wednesday, Feb. 10, in Santa Rosa, and Saturday in Oakland.

The Country Music Hall of Fame member was hospitalized in December for about two weeks, prompting him to cancel several shows. He was diagnosed with double pneumonia after first being concerned that the lung cancer he overcame with surgery in 2008 might have returned.

“I guess I was nearly dead,” he said after being released, in a conversation on Willie Nelson’s “Willie’s Roadhouse” show on SiriuxXM satellite radio. “They couldn’t tell whether my cancer returned or whether I had pneumonia.” 

Haggard’s son, Ben, who also plays guitar in the current edition of his band the Strangers, tweeted on Jan. 28 in response to fans’ inquiries about his father’s health: “Clear up something. Dad isn’t sick again, he’s just still recovering from pneumonia. Takes awhile to get back to normal!”

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