"I do have cancer of the bladder," the 83-year-old "Moon River" singer and long-ago TV variety show host said. "But that is no longer a death sentence. People with cancer are getting through this thing. They're kicking it, and they're winning more and more every year. And I'm going to be one of them."
Williams made the announcement at the Moon River Theatre in Branson, which he opened in 1992. Williams thanked the crowd for being there during his "time of need" and promised he would return to the stage next year — his 75th year in the entertainment industry.
"I'll be coming back here next year, in September and October," he said. "I'm going to do the shows I've planned to do."
He had a weekly TV show, which won three Emmys for Best Variety Show and ran through most of the 1960s until 1971; among his regulars were the Osmond Brothers, and he's credited to boosting the career of Jonathan Winters. In the 1960s, he was one of the most popular singers in the nation, and he has more gold albums than any solo act than Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley.
His earliest TV exposure came on that became the Tonight show with Steve Allen.