FADING cowboy legend Willie Nelson is so ill, he can't muster the breath to sing — and his desperate battle for life has forced the Red Headed Stranger singer to cancel two shows at Las Vegas' glitzy Venetian Resort, says a source.
The 83-year-old pothead has been ravaged by emphysema and pneumonia in recent years, now sources say he's weak as a baby.
"Willie's been so frail and gaunt… a pale shadow of the man he used to be," a source tells Radar. "He's never fully recovered from the last time when he was deathly ill, more than a year ago. It's now come back to hit him like a ton of bricks.
"If he can't get a deep breath in and his voice is a croak — there's no way he can sing."
The music icon's reps apologized for his no-shows on his Facebook page, sending regrets for axing performances "due to recent illness" and announcing the shows "will not be rescheduled."
Willie also cancelled gigs in late 2015 to undergo a stem cell treatment, saying: "It's supposed to help the lungs. Over the years I've smoked a lot of cigarettes, and I've had emphysema and pneumonia four or five times, so my lungs were really screwed up."
But the Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain legend is also savaging his health by stuffing his face with junk food, munching "on potato chips, pretzels and popcorn," says the source.
Ironically, the country king's upcoming album, God's Problem Child, due for release in April, features tunes titled Delete and Fast Forward and Still Not Dead, referring to wild internet reports he'd passed to the other side.
"But he knows one of these days those reports going to be right," adds the source. "He's at death's door and has got to know it.
"But he's going out his way, like the warrior he's always been!"
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