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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bobby Rush says he hopes to return to the stage soon, but only when it’s safe for everyone to come back together again.

For months, the 86-year-old blues favorite has been battling symptoms associated with coronavirus, and has spent weeks in self-quarantine in his Jackson, Mississippi home.

Monday, Rush said, he got a clean bill of health from his doctor, who told him he was negative for the virus.

“Man, listen, if I get any better I don’t know what to do,” Rush said Tuesday. “I’m so blessed. I’m so thankful, I have tears, but tears of joy.”

Rush was never formally diagnosed with COVID-19, but back in February he had symptoms including a lack of appetite, general weakness, a cough and a fever of 105 degrees.

“Fever was high, my neck was hurting, my back was hurting and I had body aches.”

It was a challenging time for him and his family.

“I sure thought this was the end of me because the way I felt,” he said. “I wasn’t nervous about that. I was nervous about the people around who loved me.”

His fans took to social media to share their concern and prayers.

“I never thought in this life I’d see in this time and place to witness how many people love you,” Rush said.

He’s now on a mission to spread the word about the dangers of COVID-19, especially for African-Americans.

“You see more black people dying from it. It’s not just jumping on black people. Black people are not getting the care,” he said.

He says all people need to practice social distancing, good hygiene and stay home.

“It’s not just black people, but all people. This ain’t no joke. I know they are in the house and ready to party,” he said, but “if they don’t stay in the house, they won’t have no party to go to.”