Willie Nelson may be heading out “On The Road Again,” beginning in September. But, that wasn’t the case in the earlier part of 2022. A recently published The New York Times article revealed the legendary outlaw was forced to pull out of a string of shows in early May after testing positive for COVID-19.
Back in May, Nelson’s camp took to social media with a post announcing a “positive Covid case in the Willie Nelson Family Band.” The timing of the news surrounding the diagnosis was quite alarming, as it took place less than one week after Nelson celebrated his 89th birthday. However, the identity of the individual who had contracted the virus was not disclosed to the public.
According to the long-form feature titled Willie Nelson’s Long Encore, Nelson’s wife Annie D’Angelo confirmed it was her husband who fell ill.
And it turns out, that Nelson’s case wasn’t mild, either.
“I had a pretty rough time with it,” the Country Music Hall of Fame member told the publication. “COVID ain’t nothing to laugh at, that’s for sure.”
Nelson, who lives a considerably energetic and productive lifestyle, began showing symptoms while sleeping on his tour bus. He woke up in the middle of the night, struggling to breathe. He then took a rapid PCR test, which revealed a positive result.
Due to several factors, such as his age and a condition called emphysema, Nelson is lucky to have survived the difficult bout with COVID-19.
Because so much is still unknown about the illness, Nelson’s care plan included various treatment methods. Along with a nebulizer that was already in his tour bus for his breathing problems, he was given monoclonal antibodies, Paxlovid, and a round of steroids.
Once Nelson was off of his bus, he was treated by a team of professional healthcare workers, who provided assistance to him in the comfort of his ranch-style home in Spicewood, Texas.
“We turned the house into a hospital,” D’Angelo shared. “There were a couple of times when I wasn’t sure [Willie] was going to make it.”
Nelson spent two weeks recovering from COVID-19 and resumed his schedule of playing shows in late May.
He marked his first onstage post-COVID appearance at the Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels, TX, where he played back-to-back shows on May 27-28. Nelson will take the road on Friday (Sept. 9) as part of his ongoing Outlaw Musical Festival tour. For more information on Nelson’s upcoming shows, visit his official website here.