SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNN) — Beset with health issues related to his many years of smoking, country music icon Willie Nelson says he’s quit.
For 86-year-old Nelson, there’s nothing better than stepping out onto the stage. Still performing at age 86, he says it keeps him in shape.
“It’s an energy exchange,” Nelson said. “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…Singing out there for an hour is a good workout. Your lungs are the biggest muscle you got. So when you’re out there working, you are working out.”
Years of smoking marijuana, Nelson admits, has taken a toll on his lungs.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past,” Nelson said. “So breathing is a little more difficult these days that I have to be careful, I’ve mistreated myself since I was this big. I started out smoking cedar bark and it went from that to cigarettes or whatever. And that almost killed me.”
It didn’t kill him, so he decided to stop smoking.
“I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself today than I did then.”
His health issues have prompted rumors that he’s near death, struggling to stay alive.
“I don’t give a s***,” Nelson said. “Excuse me. I’m here. I’m glad to be here. I’m lucky to be here.”
His signature song “On the Road Again” says it all.
“I love this. But, this is my home,” Nelson said.