It’s the end of an era for legendary singer/songwriter Willie Nelson, who says he’s no longer smoking marijuana. Nelson, 86, admits he was forced to make that decision after abusing his lungs for many years caused health issues.

“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful,” the veteran country star told San Antonio’s KSAT. “I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me.”

He added, “I don’t smoke anymore – take better care of myself.”

Credit: Rick Kern/WireImage

A longtime advocate of marijuana, Nelson has spoken openly of the benefits he experienced and why it should be decriminalized.

“Most people realise it’s not a deadly drug like cocaine or cigarettes,” he told The Guardian in 2012. “Cigarettes killed my mother, my dad, half my family, so don’t tell me about health when you’re talking about legalising marijuana because it’s not dangerous healthwise. I’m the canary in the mine, and I’m still healthy. Had I stayed with alcohol I would have been dead or in prison or somewhere today.”

In April, he said he was still getting high “pretty much all the time” in an interview with Rolling Stone. He also talked about opening his own weed business, an idea he got from his wife Annie made him weed chocolates during a bout of bronchitis.

While Nelson might’ve stopped smoking weed, it’s possible Annie is finding creative ways to give her hubby his regular dose of THC.

“I wouldn’t be alive. It saved my life, really,” he told the music magazine about where he’d be without marijuana. “I wouldn’t have lived 85 years if I’d have kept drinking and smoking like I was when I was 30, 40 years old. I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”

Nelson is currently touring the United States, with upcoming show dates resuming in Jan. throughout California.

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