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Willie Nelson, 91, shares health update after being forced to cancel concerts due to illness

The 91-year-old country music legend pulled out of the Outlaw Music Festival Tour


Willie Nelson performs during the First annual 2011 Rapids Jam Music Festival at the Carolina Crossroads Outdoor Amphitheate on June 16, 2011 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.© Getty Images
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
June 23, 2024
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Willie Nelson announced on Friday that due to an illness, he would be unable to join the Outlaw Music Festival Tour for his scheduled slate of performances over the first week, hours before his first show.

The 91-year-old country musician's statement, courtesy of his team, shared that per doctor's orders, he was unable to perform. In the meantime, Lukas Nelson and the Family Band will incorporate more of his songs into their set list.

While the other musicians listed, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, and Celisse all still took to the stage for the tour, which began on June 21 in Alpharetta, Georgia, Willie's family band performed in his stead.

However, a representative for the singer shared a new update on his health with Today.com, emphasizing that he was not only doing well, but would return to the stage sooner rather than later.

"Willie will be fine. I live in Los Angeles and will fly next week to see the performances on the east coast. I can't wait," the statement from his rep read.

 In the original message shared on X on Friday, it was said: "We regret to inform you that Willie Nelson is not feeling well and, per doctor's orders, has been advised to rest for the next four days."

willie nelson on stage smiling© Getty Images
Willie is expected to make a full recovery and return to the stage next week

"He is expected to make a quick recovery and join the Outlaw Music Festival Tour next week. In the meantime, Lukas Nelson and the Family Band, along with a few guests, will perform a special set to include Willie's classics and other songs." 

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The tour performed twice more over the weekend, on June 22 and 23, before taking a short break and resuming on June 26 in Virginia Beach, which is when Willie is expected to make his return.

willie nelson performing on stage© Getty Images
The singer was ordered by doctors to rest for four days

Willie Nelson & Family and Bob Dylan will remain on the tour's roster for its remainder, continuing until September 20, and they will be joined by a rotating set of musicians which also includes Brittney Spencer, John Mellencamp, Billy Strings, and Southern Avenue.

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Willie will also host his iconic annual 4th of July Picnic this year in Philadelphia, and will be joined by the same stable of performers, and also call on Maren Morris and Mavis Staples for the roster.

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In a statement shared on the tour's website, the "On the Road Again" hitmaker gushed: "I am thrilled to bring the 4th of July Picnic to Philadelphia for the first time in our storied history. It's an honor to host such an extraordinary lineup of talent in the birthplace of our country. We can't wait to celebrate Independence Day with you."

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Ahead of the tour, Willie also shared a message expressing excitement for the upcoming shows, saying: "This year's Outlaw Music Festival Tour promises to be the biggest and best yet with this lineup of legendary artists." 

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - MAY 15: Willie Nelson performs in concert at Pinewood Performing Arts on May 15, 2024 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images for Shock Inc)© Getty Images
"Willie will be fine. I live in Los Angeles and will fly next week to see the performances on the east coast. I can't wait."

"I am thrilled to get back on the road again with my family and friends playing the music we love for the fans we love."

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