For the first time since he revealed his diagnosis of stomach cancer in June, Toby Keith opened up about his battle. In an appearance on CMT’s “Hot 20 Countdown,” the 61-year-old country music star shared an update on his health. He also hinted at future touring plans. “I’m thinking about getting back into fighting shape” Keith said. Footage from the interview was shared on Twitter.
“I need a little bit of time to just rest up and heal up,” Keith explained. “It’s pretty debilitating to have to go through all that,” the “Beer for My Horses” crooner said. “But as long as everything stays hunky-dory, then we’ll look at something good in the future.”
In June, the singer took to Instagram and Twitter sharing that he was battling stomach cancer and would be taking time off for treatment. “Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” he revealed. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.”
However, he added a hopeful note. “I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
He later canceled the rest of his planned shows for the year. However, he made a sudden appearance at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Ky. on Nov. 4. Reportedly, he sang songs like “I Love This Bar” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Toby Keith received a top honor back in November
Nov. 8, Toby Keith was awarded the BMI Icon Award at the BMI Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tenneesee.He joins other past iconic recipients such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson and Hank Williams Jr.
The country star set up the Toby Keith Foundation in 2006 “to encourage the health and happiness of pediatric cancer patients.” In 2014, the OK Kids Korral Foundation opened a home away from home for pediatric cancer patients and their families. This cost-free place is conveniently located near The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, Stephenson Cancer Center and other medical facilities. According to the foundation’s mission statement, they provide a comfortable and nurturing environment”so that children with cancer can focus on getting well.
Earlier this week, Keith shared a moving photo to Instagram in which he was holding a young cancer patient. They were both smiling and giving the thumbs-up sign. “Thumbs up if you’re celebrating #GivingTuesday by donating to the @tkfoundation1!” Keith said in the caption. “Your donations make the OK Kids Korral possible, a home away from home for children battling cancer and their families.”
Keith, a native Oklahoman, started his music career after working in the oil industry and playing football for the USFL. His album debut sold more than one million copies and he soon became known for his patriotic anthems such as “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” which was written in response to 9/11.