LOS ANGELES — Willie Nelson has played nearly a dozen shows in recent weeks and is not deathly ill, his publicist said, despite a series of reports claiming the country music legend is struggling to breathe.
A March 13 Radar Online report quoted an anonymous source saying Nelson was “deathly ill,” weak as a baby and unable to muster the breath to sing. The story is the basis for reports shared by other websites, including washingtonfeed.com and uconservative.net.
Elaine Schock, Nelson’s publicist, denied the reports and pointed to his performances at concerts in recent weeks as evidence of the singer’s health.
“He’s perfectly fine,” Schock told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
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The 83-year-old took the stage before more than 75,000 people at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at NRG Stadium on March 18. He appeared healthy and sang well during the show. The Houston concert was part of a series of shows in Texas and Florida over the past two months.
Nelson canceled several shows in late January and early February after coming down with a “bad cold,” Schock said. Nelson returned to the stage Feb. 16 to play at a San Antonio rodeo.
The singer has been the target of numerous online death hoaxes over the years. He references them in the song “Still Not Dead,” from his upcoming album, “God’s Problem Child,” which is set to be released in April. Lyrics from the track include, “The internet said I had passed away, but you can’t believe a damn thing that they say.”