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Merle Haggard misses Bridge School concert because of illness [Updated]

October 24, 2010 |  1:45 pm

Merle Haggard Merle Haggard missed his scheduled appearance Saturday with Kris Kristofferson for Neil Young's annual Bridge School benefit concert in Mountain View, Calif., because of illness, Kristofferson announced when he arrived onstage alone.

Kristofferson said Haggard's doctor ordered him to cancel several performances this month to recuperate. A chest infection prompted him to cancel a chunk of his September itinerary, but at the time his spokeswoman said he had been expected to recover in time to perform for the Bridge School event. Haggard's representative was not immediately available to comment on whether the same illness prompted the latest round of concert cancelations.

[Updated Oct. 25, 11:45 a.m.: Haggard's spokeswoman said the health issue concerned regulating his blood pressure.]

The 73-year-old singer and songwriter, whom Kristofferson lauded Saturday as "the closest thing we have to Hank Williams on the planet right now," is due in Washington, D.C., in December as one of five recipients of this year's Kennedy Center Honors.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Merle Haggard performs at the Stagecoach festival on April 24, 2010. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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