Andy Williams has cancer, which the singer confirmed to an audience Saturday at his Moon River Theater in Branson, Mo. -- and that audience reportedly responded with a supportive round of cheers and applause.
"I do have cancer of the bladder," he said on stage, according to the Branson Tri-Lakes News. "But that is no longer a death sentence. People with cancer are getting through this thing."
He thanked fans for their support, saying "I really have missed this an awful lot." The "2011 Andy Williams Christmas Show" performance was the 83-year-old's first time on stage in weeks.
Except for a 10-month break in 1999 to deal with a polyp on his vocal cords, Williams has been appearing in Branson regularly for the last two decades, typically performing two shows a day, six days a week for nine months a year. He's known around town as "Mr. Christmas," having urged venues around entertainment-based Branson to kick off their decorations and holiday-themed shows starting Nov. 1.
The National Enquirer reported Friday that the singer had, toward the end of October, sought tests and treatment in Texas for "invasive bladder cancer." According to an unnamed Enquirer source "close to Williams," he is likely to have his bladder removed after rounds of chemotherapy to shrink the tumors.
Though he's perhaps best known for his take on "Moon River," the shopping malls and weather are hinting that it's time for another Williams classic: "White Christmas." Enjoy video of a Williams performance from 1969, below.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Reuters contributed to this report.
Photo: Andy Williams at the Hollywood Bowl in 2004. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times