Toby Keith Gives An Update On His Health Amid Cancer Battle

Toby Keith was the star of the show at the inaugural  People’s Choice Country Awards. The Oklahoma native received the Country Icon Award, presented to him by Blake Shelton, also performing his poignant and powerful 2018 single, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.” The song was used in the 2018 film, The Mule, starring Clint Eastwood.

Ahead of the ceremony, Keith opened up about his ongoing health battle, after announcing in 2022 that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

“I walked some dark hallways,” Keith told Extra. “Almighty’s riding shotgun. But I feel pretty good. You have good days and bad days, but it’s a little bit of a roller coaster. But I’m doing a lot better than I was this time last year.”

When asked what helped him get through the challenging season, Keith credited his spirituality.

“Just my faith,” said the singer. “I’ve always rode with a prayer. As long as I have Him with me, I’m cool. You just have to dig in. You don’t have a choice.”

Keith also reflected on being named the Country Icon at the first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards.

“I feel like, if an icon is old, I do,” he said when asked if he felt worthy of the honor. “30-year career. There’s a lot of things behind the scenes, a lot of people that built a career of this magnitude. It’s nice that they recognize it.”

Keith, who also received the BMI Icon Award last year, is enjoying reflecting on his legendary career, which began with his “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” single, out in 1993.

“You look up and you look back, you see what you’ve accomplished, and it’s pretty amazing,” Keith said.

Although he didn’t have a say in who presented him with the Country Icon Award, Keith is glad it was Shelton who was able to present it to him.

“That’s who I would have chosen, but the second he heard about it, he called in,” Keith revealed. “But we go way back. When I first got headliner status, he was one of the first acts that went out with me. He’s from Oklahoma, so my neck of the woods. We’re kindred spirits. We’re a lot alike.”

During his acceptance speech, Keith thanked those who had been instrumental in helping him have a career that spanned three decades.

“I bet you never thought you’d see me in skinny jeans,” Keith joked from stage. “I wanna thank the Almighty for allowing me to be here tonight. He’s been riding shotgun with me for a little while. I want to thank my beautiful family that’s here. A lot of people go into making a big career like this, of 30 years.

“My manager, T.K. Kimbrell and Curt Motley. Brian O’Connell, Elaine Shock,” he continued. “The band and the crew, and everybody’s that behind this thing. All the great musicians that have played on all these albums in the studios. They’ve poured their heart and soul into what I do. And most of all, I want to thank the fans for allowing us to still do what we do. God bless y’all, and have a wonderful evening.”

Keith just announced his 100% Songwriter album will be out in November. The 13-track record features some of his biggest hits throughout his three-decades career, all songs written entirely by Keith. Find all of Keith’s music and touring updates at