'Still Not Dead': Willie Nelson battling flu; illness forces cancellation of several concerts

Nelson says he's recovering, hopes to be back on road soon

HELOTES, Texas – Music legend Willie Nelson has been battling the flu recently, which has forced the cancellation of several concerts.

In an interview following a recent show at one of his favorite venues, Floore’s Country Store, Nelson discussed the fact that there are frequently rumors out there about his death. He’s even written and recorded a song called “Still Not Dead” that he sings during his concerts.

“It’s funny, up-tempo. And I’m still here,” he said.

Some of Nelson’s best friends — Merle Haggard, Ray Price and Leon Russell — have recently died.

“I wrote a new song called 'I Don’t Want to Be the Last One Standing.' But wait a minute, let me think about that,” he said, while laughing.

The laughter stopped when Nelson talked about the death of 92-year-old Ben Dorcey, who claimed to be the world’s oldest roadie. He and Nelson were close friends for decades.

“I always looked forward to seeing Ben limping on the bus, you know, with his cane and his pipe,” Nelson said.

Recalling their days on the road, Nelson said, “I used to put him up front and let him walk off the bus first.”

“They would think it was me, and then they’d be so glad to see me when I got off,” he said.

Nelson’s sons, Lukas and Mica, often join him on the bus, and the three have recently recorded an album aptly titled “Willie and the Boys.”

“They were around instruments all of their lives, and then one day, Lukas picked up the guitar and Mica started playing the drums and the next thing you know, they’re real good,” Nelson said. “This is as good as it gets, being up here with your kids. Plus, they’re making you proud because they’re good.”

When asked, at 84 years old, if he was going to slow down, Nelson chuckled and said, “Oh, I’m about half stopped now.”

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.