Lifestyle & Human Interest

Toby Keith Reveals Stomach Cancer Diagnosis but Vows to See Fans Again: 'I Can't Wait'


Country music star Toby Keith, 60, has had a rollercoaster of the past year. He’s been silently fighting a battle while continuing to work in the music industry.

Last October, he released “Peso In My Pocket,” his first new album in five years.

While he’d had quite a creative hiatus, Keith told People that he was inspired to write again while running — an activity he greatly enjoys.

“I’d look at the song ideas I had in my phone before I started running, and then I would take off,” he said.

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“Next thing I know, my time would be up, and I’d have been constantly working, grinding gears in my head about the songs. I’d get back and put on my recorder on my phone and I would lay down what I got.”

“It was a great time for me to write.”

But a devastating diagnosis soon followed. While fans and followers didn’t know it until just recently, last fall Keith also got some bad news: He had stomach cancer.

On Sunday, he shared what life has looked like for the past few months, and it was a shock to many.

“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” he posted on Facebook. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.

“I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait. -T”

Despite the crippling disease he’s been fighting, Keith has kept a stiff upper lip and is on tour for his new album. While he’s still scheduled to perform on Friday and Saturday in Illinois and Michigan, his performance in Ohio on July 28, has been canceled.

“Our hearts go out to Toby Keith as he courageously battles cancer,” the Ohio State Fair tweeted. “Tickets purchased from Ticketmaster for his #ohiostatefair show on July 28, which has been cancelled, will be automatically refunded.

“Any information about an alternate concert on July 28 is forthcoming.”

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Keith has received massive support on social media following his announcement. His Facebook post alone has more than 97,000 comments, most of them well-wishes from concerned friends and fans.

Cancer has been an issue Keith has taken seriously for years, and he has done much good by using his position and funds to relieve the suffering of others.

The Toby Keith Foundation was started in 2006 to help families whose children were suffering from cancer. In 2014, the OK Kids Korral grew out of that foundation in order to provide free housing for children undergoing cancer treatments.

“There is no greater gift than keeping families strong and together during a difficult time,” the foundation’s mission statement read.

“If we can alleviate stress on a family, encourage a brother or sister and comfort a sick child, then we will make a difference in the fight against cancer.”

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