Country music great Haggard hospitalized with pneumonia

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - Country music great Merle Haggard has been admitted to a Georgia hospital suffering from pneumonia and postponed the rest of his concert dates in January, his spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Haggard, 74, entered the Macon hospital on Tuesday night after he canceled a show in that Georgia city seven minutes before he was to take the stage because he was too ill to perform, said Frank Mull, his tour manager and close friend.

A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Haggard is best known for songs including "Mama Tried," "Okie from Muskogee" and "The Fightin' Side of Me."

Haggard had been scheduled to perform again on Wednesday night in Columbus, Georgia, but that show and the rest of the January slate will be rescheduled for April, according to Haggard's Los Angeles-based publicist Tresa Redburn.

Redburn said the singer was receiving fluids intravenously. She said she spoke with Haggard by telephone "and he sounded pretty good."

Haggard will take time off to recover and resume his tour in February, Redburn said. Haggard lives in Northern California.

The singer was unwell when he left his California home to begin the tour, but did not want to disappoint his fans, Mull said. "He thought he was well enough to work and he did work three dates, and he got progressively worse," Mull said.

With influences ranging from Lefty Frizzell to Bob Wills to Jimmie Rodgers, Haggard is an architect of country music's "Bakersfield Sound."

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Will Dunham)


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