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Studdard almost recovered from pneumonia

Dec. 14, 2004 at 9:26 PM

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Alabama native Ruben Studdard said he's better, recovering from pneumonia and happy his new CD tops the gospel chart.

"I'm actually doing much, much better right now," Studdard told the syndicated TV show "Extra." "I'm feeling great. I am feeling 90 percent better and hopefully in the coming weeks I'll be 100 percent."

Studdard said he was very pleased to be getting ready to perform for President George W. Bush at the "Annual Christmas in Washington Concert," which airs Wednesday on cable's TNT.

The Velvet Teddy Bear gained some weight after winning the second season of Fox's "American Idol" but had begun to slim down thanks to a strict diet and exercise program he started on "Extra" before he got sick.

Three weeks ago, Studdard fell ill just after he began promoting his new album, "I Need an Angel."

"I just hate that I got sick right in middle of what we were doing, because we really had it going well," Studdard said. "I was working out and eating right."

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