Merle Haggard expected to remain in Macon hospital for a couple more days

lfabian@macon.comJanuary 19, 2012 

Country singer Merle Haggard is expected to remain hospitalized in Macon for a couple of days to recover from pneumonia, his publicist said Wednesday.

Haggard, 74, wasn’t able to perform Tuesday night at the City Auditorium and was reportedly being treated in the Georgia Heart Center of The Medical Center of Central Georgia.

The entertainer’s tour bus was parked outside the heart tower Wednesday.

“He’s in good spirits,” said publicist Tresa Redburn, who talked to him Wednesday morning. “I was surprised he answered the phone, and not a family member.”

Haggard has been ill since leaving his home in northern California last week, said tour manager Frank Mull.

“I’m glad he got checked out, because he’s a lung cancer survivor,” Redburn said. “It’s always a bit worrisome, but he’s cancer-free.”

Fans inquired about sending flowers, but Redburn was concerned the hospital would be overwhelmed with deliveries.

“I think he’d rather have prayers and well-wishes than flowers. In fact, I know he would because I know him,” she said.

Haggard wasn’t well enough to perform Sunday’s concert in Columbia, S.C., and also had to miss Wednesday night’s performance in Columbus.

The illness forced him to postpone his remaining tour dates for January, Redburn said.

The Macon cancellation came just seven minutes before the start of the 7:30 p.m. show Tuesday, and another performance has been scheduled for April 25 at the City Auditorium.

All tickets purchased for Tuesday’s performance in Macon will be honored at the April event, but anyone seeking a refund should contact their point of purchase, according to a news release.

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