Johnny Cash was hospitalized in Nashville on Monday for treatment of an undisclosed stomach condition and will miss Thursday’s MTV Video Music Awards, where he’s nominated in six categories.
The 71-year-old country legend, who suffers from the nervous-system disease autonomic neuropathy — which renders him susceptible to lung problems — has been hospitalized frequently over the past several years but had hoped to be well enough to fly to New York for the awards, according to Jim Flammia, Cash’s spokesperson at Lost Highway Records.
“He wasn’t feeling well and came in early Monday morning and is being held here for observation and treatment of that condition,” said Baptist Hospital spokesperson Jennifer Jackson. “He’s very much in stable condition, and we expect him to be out within a few days.”
Jackson could not give any further information about Cash’s condition.
The Man in Black was the dark-horse favorite coming into the event, with a surprising six nominations, including Video of the Year, for his riveting cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” His six nods put him just behind Missy Elliott and Justin Timberlake for the most this year (see “Missy, Justin, Johnny Cash, 50 And Eminem Top VMA Nominees List” ).
“I don’t especially like making videos,” Cash told MTV News’ Kurt Loder last week (see “Johnny Cash Says Unlike Most Videos, ’Hurt’ Wasn’t Too Painful” ). “It’s just work. Sometimes it’s really fun and I enjoy it very much, but the getting there and all that usually just isn’t.”
Cash’s spokesperson said the singer was excited about the VMAs and had booked a flight and hotel rooms for the event. “Flying takes a lot out of him,” Flammia said, “but he definitely wanted to be there. He will be bummed.”
To learn more about the infamous Man in Black, check out Kurt Loder’s “Johnny Cash: Original Gangsta.”
Catch all the sizzlin’, star-packed VMA action direct from Miami on August 28. MTV News’ preshow kicks things off at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the big show at 8 p.m.