The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the country legend had just hit the stage at Harrah’s Resort Southern California in Valley Center on Jan. 6. Before he could even finish the first song, “Whiskey River,” Nelson left the stage and didn’t return. The show was called off, and several more shows scheduled for the following week were also canceled.
The newspaper reported that several fans attending the show noticed that the 84-year-old country icon was coughing and seemed to be experiencing difficulty breathing, and a representative for Nelson confirmed to the paper that the award-winning singer had developed either a “bad cold or flu” and would return home to Texas to fully recuperate.
Nelson’s Jan. 8 show in Palm Springs, California, was canceled, as were Wednesday, Friday and Saturday shows at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and Sunday’s show in Laughlin, Nevada, according to Nelson’s rep.
This isn’t the first time that the legendary country star has had to abort a performance due to illness. Last August, Nelson was forced to end a show in Salt Lake City when he fell ill. He was rushed to a hospital, but blamed altitude for the sudden health issue. He canceled shows last year in January and then again in February due to undisclosed health issues.
Nelson has seemingly suffered from respiratory issues ever since he had a lung collapse while surfing in Hawaii in the 1980s. He did give up smoking cigarettes, but is believed to still support a healthy enthusiasm for marijuana.
Even with a couple of rounds of health battles in 2017, Nelson was still able to release a new album, “God’s Problem Child,” in April and did some shows with fellow country singer Kacey Musgraves.
Nelson’s next tour dates are next month, starting Feb. 7 in Macon, Georgia, with Los Lonely Boys.