Staying strong. Toby Keith opened up about his battle with stomach cancer — and how he’s optimistic about the future.
“I’m thinking about getting back in fighting shape,” Keith, 60, said in a Thursday, December 1, clip of an upcoming CMT Hot 20 Countdown interview. “I need a little time to just rest up and heal up.”
While the country crooner explained that it’s “pretty debilitating” to go through chemotherapy and radiation, he kept a positive outlook on what’s to come. “As long as everything stays hunky dory, then we’ll look at something good in the future,” he said.
Keith announced in June that he was stepping away from music in order to receive treatment after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in fall 2021.
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” he wrote via Instagram. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good.”
Initially, the “Red Solo Cup” singer didn’t stop playing concerts. He performed at a Memorial Day weekend show at the Heroes Honor Festival in Daytona Beach, Florida, and at a sold-out venue at the San Antonio Rodeo in February.
Keith also attended The 2022 Toby Keith and Friends Golf Classic in May, which raised over $1.38 million for charity. However, the star realized he was ready for a break after six months of treatment.
“I need time to breathe, recover and relax,” the “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” artist explained after recognizing he needed to press pause on his career. “I am looking forward to spending this time with my family.”
Keith ended his statement by assuring fans he’d be back on the road as soon as he could. “I can’t wait,” he said.
Before becoming a country music superstar, the Grammy-Award nominee depended on the unconditional support of his wife, Tricia Lucas, telling Country Weekly in 2015 that the Oklahoma native, 60, believed in him when no one else did.
“Dozens of people told Tricia, ‘You need to go tell your old man to get a real job,’” he said at the time via The Boot. “It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, ‘He’s good enough at music that I’ve got to let him try. And it’ll be a great shot for both of us if he can make it work.’”
The star added, “I absolutely love performing and writing songs, but being at home with my wife, Tricia, and my three kids is the best feeling of all.”
The pair tied the knot in 1984 and share three children, daughters Shelley Covel Rowland, 42, and Krystal Keith, 36, as well as son Stelen Keith Covel, 25. They are also grandparents to several grandkids.
Last month, Keith and Lucas attended the 2022 BMI Awards, where the “I Love This Bar” singer received the BMI Icon Award and was honored with tribute performances from artists like Carrie Underwood and Eric Church.