Johnny Cash Leaves Hospital, Prepares To Finish New Album

Country legend was admitted August 25 for inflamed pancreas.

Johnny Cash checked out of a Nashville hospital on Tuesday afternoon, almost three weeks after being admitted for treatment of pancreatitis, according to his manager.

The 71-year-old country legend entered Baptist Hospital on August 25 after falling ill with an inflammation of the pancreas. The hospitalization prevented him from attending the MTV Video Music Awards, where the clip for his cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" was nominated for six awards (see "Johnny Cash Hospitalized, Misses Video Music Awards").

"We kept him here for a bit to make sure he was feeling OK, and his doctors must have been confident that he was ready to go," explained Baptist Hospital spokesperson Mat Monson, who said no further information was available on the nature of the condition.

Manager Lou Robin said Cash is feeling much better and is resting up for a trip to California next week to finish a new album with producer Rick Rubin, tentatively titled American V. "This was an isolated incident and it was treated, and he's at home now," Robin said.

Cash, who was intent on attending the VMAs — where "Hurt" won for Best Cinematography — suffers from the nervous-system disease autonomic neuropathy and has been hospitalized frequently over the past several years with pneumonia and other respiratory ailments. Cash was listed as stable during his stay and remained hospitalized mainly as a precaution and to get some rest.

Robin said he wasn't aware of the motif of the new Cash recording, but that like the four previous American Recordings albums it would likely be a mix of covers and originals picked from the nearly 50 songs Cash has recorded at his home studio for the effort. "They will spend a couple of weeks in the studio going over the songs John has recorded in Nashville and probably record some more that they like," Robin said, noting that some of the originals being considered were written following the death of Cash's wife, country singer June Carter Cash, in May (see "Country Star June Carter Cash, Wife Of Johnny Cash, Dies At 73").

The album, due early next year, is the follow-up to Cash's acclaimed 2002 album, American IV: The Man Comes Around. Before that, more than 100 outtakes from the Cash/Rubin sessions are slated for release under the tentative title Unearthed.

Due around Christmas, Unearthed is expected to feature four discs of previously unreleased material, with a fifth disc of highlights from the earlier Cash/Rubin albums. Among the previously unreleased tracks is a duet with late Clash singer Joe Strummer, one of several recorded by the punk legend and Cash during impromptu sessions last year.

The first three discs of the collection are slated to feature unused tracks and unreleased duets with Fiona Apple and Nick Cave, and Robin said current plans call for the fourth disc to be an album of acoustic gospel songs Cash completed several years ago, titled My Mother's Hymn Book.

To learn more about the infamous Man in Black, check out Kurt Loder's "Johnny Cash: Original Gangsta."