Merle HaggardMerle Haggard recently released his first album, 'I Am What I Am,' on his new label, Vanguard Records. But, while the legendary singer is proud of the CD, he's relishing his successful battle with lung cancer even more.

Diagnosed in November of 2008 -- and now cancer-free -- Merle says it was faith more than medicine that saved his life. "When we first got the news, they thought it was the bad kind [of cancer]," he recalls to CMT. "They thought it was a small cell, and had it been that, I probably had less than a couple months to live. [My wife] Theresa went through a 24-hour period where she thought it was the small cell. And she went to a black church that was going on at the hotel that we were staying in. She went in there, and those people laid hands on her and prayed for me."

It wasn't until the following day when Merle and his wife learned their prayers had been answered. "The next morning when they got ready to get around to tell me what the biopsy was, they said, 'We don't understand it. It looked to be small cell, but it's not. It's a slow-growing, isolated condition, and I think we're gonna be able to get it if you want to get it.' So if you don't believe in miracles, then just look at my life."

His miracles extend far beyond his health, he says. Married for 16 years to his wife, Theresa, Merle lives each day full of gratitude. "I'm getting a second chance at being a father, and I'm 73 years old," he says. "I mean, that's a blessing from God. That's what it says in the Bible. Abraham was blessed when he was old, and I take it as a blessing that I can have this family and then have it be exciting enough to write about."

He may be in his seventies, but the Country Music Hall of Fame member has no plans of slowing down. Hitting the road this summer in support of his new album, Merle will spend the next several months performing all over the United States and Canada. Click here for tour dates.



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