(CNN) – Beset with health issues related to many years of smoking, country music and marijuana icon Willie Nelson said he’s quit smoking.
For Nelson, there’s nothing better than stepping out onto the stage.
“It’s an energy exchange. They give me a lot of good positive energy and I hope I’m giving positive energy. And for an hour, they get away from everything they don’t like,” said Nelson.
Still performing at 86, he said it keeps him in shape.
“Singing out there for an hour is a good workout,” Nelson said.
Years of smoking, though, has taken its toll on his lungs.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past. So breathing is a little more difficult these days,” Nelson said.
He said smoking almost killed him, but when it didn’t, he said he decided not to smoke any more.
His health issues have prompted rumors that he’s near death, struggling to stay alive.
Regarding the rumors, Nelson said, “I don’t give a (expletive). Excuse me. I’m here. I’m glad to be here. I’m lucky to be here.”
(This story was originally published on December 4, 2019)