Country music legend Toby Keith has been a towering figure in the industry for decades, known for his chart-topping hits and unwavering dedication to his craft. However, in June 2022, he faced a personal battle that would test his strength and resilience like never before: stomach cancer. In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Keith opened up about how faith became his anchor during this challenging journey, highlighting the vital role it played in his fight against the disease.
Toby Keith, a proud Oklahoma native, has always been known for his down-to-earth and straightforward nature. When discussing his cancer battle, he didn’t mince words. “I lean on my faith and I just pray and lean into it,” he told the outlet. “You gotta do what you gotta do, and I don’t know how people do it without faith … that’s what I did; it was my rock.” These words reflect the deep connection between his faith and his ability to confront adversity head-on.
“You gotta do what you gotta do, and I don’t know how people do it without faith … that’s what I did; it was my rock.” – Toby Keith
Keith’s battle with stomach cancer has been a roller coaster ride, as he candidly acknowledged. “You get good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down,” he revealed. It’s a sentiment many cancer patients can relate to, as the disease’s unpredictability can take an emotional and physical toll. However, Keith remained positive, saying, “It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero, but I feel good today.” His resilience and optimism are nothing short of inspiring.
Amid his battle, Keith was honored with the prestigious Country Icon Award at the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards. The ceremony took place at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House, where he walked the red carpet with his wife, Tricia Lucus. Country star Blake Shelton presented Keith with the award, and during his heartfelt acceptance speech, Keith expressed gratitude to his family, team, fans, and the Almighty for allowing him to be present on such a momentous occasion. The emotional impact of this recognition was palpable.
As part of the awards show, Toby Keith took the stage for a poignant performance of his song “Don’t Let The Old Man In.” The song, originally penned for the film “The Mule” starring Clint Eastwood, took on added emotional weight given Keith’s health condition. The touching rendition left his wife, Tricia Lucus, visibly moved, shedding tears from the front row of the audience.
This performance marked a significant moment in Keith’s career, as it was his first time performing at an awards show since 2017. His appearance on ACM Honors in 2017 featured a rendition of “Who’s Your Daddy.” Keith’s triumphant return to the stage showcased his determination to continue doing what he loves despite the challenges he faced.
The Country Icon Award celebrated Toby Keith’s remarkable career as a groundbreaking musician, humanitarian, and entrepreneur. With 32 No.1 singles, 40 million albums sold, and a streak of chart-topping hits that lasted for two decades, Keith’s impact on country music is undeniable. He received numerous accolades, including the National Medal of Arts and induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Throughout his career, Keith also received the BMI Icon Award and the BMI Country Songwriter of the Year award multiple times. His hit single “As Good As I Once Was” was recognized as BMI’s Country Song of the Year in 2006. His music continues to resonate with audiences, accumulating more than 10 billion streams and 100 million terrestrial radio spins to date.
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