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Country music great Haggard recovering from pneumonia

Country music performer Haggard walks the red carpet at the California Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at California Museum in Sacramento, C
Country music performer Haggard walks the red carpet at the California Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at California Museum in Sacramento, C

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - Country singer Merle Haggard, who was admitted to a Georgia hospital last week after illness forced him to cancel a show, was recovering from a host of health issues discovered while he was being treated for pneumonia, his spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Haggard was admitted to hospital on January 17, when illness forced him to cancel a show in Macon, Georgia, just moments before taking the stage. He later said that being hospitalized "probably saved my life."

The 74-year-old singer, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, is recovering from double-pneumonia but was also being treated for a number of serious ailments that doctors discovered while he was hospitalized.

Haggard's pneumonia is "almost completely clear, while he is recovering from three stomach ulcers, the removal of eight polyps from his colon and diverticulitis in his esophagus," which were discovered by the Macon medical staff, according to his Los Angeles-based spokesperson Tresa Redburn.

"He will be back up and running in 30 days," said Redburn, adding that Haggard would be in the hospital for "at least a few more days."

"Thanks to the wonderful people all over the world that prayed their special prayers," Redburn quoted Haggard as saying.

"I'm a new man. Another special thanks to the folks of Macon, Georgia, for their kindness, their intelligence and probably saving my life," he said.

Haggard had to cancel the remainder of his January tour and was planning on beginning his performance schedule again in late February.

With influences ranging from Lefty Frizzell to Bob Wills to Jimmie Rodgers, Haggard is an architect of country music's so-called "Bakersfield Sound." He is best known for songs like "Mama Tried," "Okie from Muskogee" and "The Fightin' Side of Me."

(Reporting By Tim Ghianni; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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