Years of smoking marijuana have finally caught up with the Red-Headed Stranger. In a new interview with Houston’s KSAT TV, Willie Nelson has revealed that he has quit smoking pot as a result of recent health issues.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful,” the 86-year-old Wilson explained.
“I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever,” he said. “And that almost killed me.”
In recent years, Nelson has canceled a number of tour dates due to breathing issues. He previously sought to remedy the problem by quitting cigarettes, as he explained in an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this year.
“I used to smoke two or three packs of cigarettes a day and drank whatever there was there to drink and I had pneumonia four or five times, my lung collapsed, I almost died, so I said, ‘Wait a minute, I ain’t getting that high off of Chesterfields,’ so I threw out the cigarettes, rolled up 20 joints, stuck it in there, and I haven’t had a cigarette since,” Nelson said at the time.
Unfortunately, Nelson’s breathing issues have persisted. Over the summer, he called off a US tour, including the second leg of his Outlaw Music Festival.
Now, he’s apparently quit smoking altogether. “I don’t smoke anymore – I take better care of myself,” Nelson told KSAT TV.
That’s not to say Nelson doesn’t still enjoy marijuana in other forms. He continues to serve as the chief tester of his marijuana company Willie’s Reserve, and recently launched a CBD product line catered to pets.
Update: Citing sources close to Nelson, TMZ reports that he still vapes and eat cannabis-infused items. He also hasn’t ruled out smoking in the future… if his condition improves.
By all accounts, Nelson’s new way of life is paying dividends. Recently, he teamed up with Kacey Musgraves for a charming performance of “Rainbow Connection” at the 2019 CMAs.
Asked by KSAT TV to address rumors that he’s near death, Nelson responded, “I don’t give a f*ck, I’m here, I’m glad to be here,” and with a smile added, “I’m lucky to be here.”
In related news, The Opus recently headed to Texas to break down Nelson’s magnum opus Red Headed Stranger. Listen to episode one below, and subscribe to The Opus to hear the entire season.