Country music and avid marijuana smoking icon Willie Nelson says that he is no longer partaking in the latter of those two defining activities due to prolonged health and breathing issues.
Nelson made that declaration last Friday while speaking to KSAT during a two-night jaunt in San Antonio. "I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past," Nelson said. "So breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful."
The 86-year-old Nelson, who has his own line of marijuana products, had to delay a tour this past August because of breathing issues. A month later that tour resumed. "I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever," he revealed. "And that almost killed me." Because of this Nelson says that he no longer smokes, and that he "take[s] better care of" himself.
TMZ says a source close to the artist says Nelson continues to vape and use cannabis-infused products. "We're told it's also not out of the question that Willie will decide to smoke again in the future," the site writes.
KSAT notes that Nelson's health issues have generated unflattering rumors that he's near death. To that Nelson said “I don’t give a [fuck or shit] I’m here, I’m glad to be here." After that he smiled and said "I'm lucky to be here." He also said he loves touring and that there are no plans to give it up.
CNN adds that, during November's CMA Awards, Nelson's performance with Kacey Musgraves appeared to show him struggling for breath at one point, though (as you can see) he did get through it.