The inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards will honor one of country music’s biggest stars. Toby Keith has been announced as the recipient of the Country Icon Award, which will be presented to him by fellow Oklahoma native, Blake Shelton.
“We’re overjoyed to honor legendary artist Toby Keith with the first-ever Country Icon Award,” Cassandra Tryon, Senior Vice President, Entertainment Live Events, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, says. “As a talented songwriter and powerhouse performer, Keith has touched the hearts of fans across the globe. His illustrious career and passion for philanthropy has cemented his place as an icon in country music history.”
Keith, who received the National Medal of Arts in 2021, is being honored not only for his musical contributions but for his philanthropy as well. Keith started The Toby Keith Foundation, OK Kids Korral, and hosts his annual charity golf classic, all to support children battling serious illnesses, and their families.
The “Made In America” singer has had his own health challenges in recent years. Last summer, Keith revealed he was battling stomach cancer, but felt confident in his treatment, and believed he was on his way to a complete recovery.
“I’m feeling pretty good. … I’m about another eight weeks from my last scan,” Keith told The Oklahoman in June (via Music Mayhem). “So, I expect next time I look for that tumor to be even less — and I’ve only got one that’s shown up. Basically, everything is in a real positive trend. You never know with cancer, so you have to prepare.”
Keith also plans to return to touring, hopefully later this year, as he regains his strength.
“I feel better; I’ve got more wind. And I’m thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours,” Keith said. “And if I do, (I’ll) be out on the road this fall.”
Keith recently hosted his 19th Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic, which raised a record $1.8 million. The money is part of a nearly $18 million collectively raised in support of OK Kids Korral. Opened since 2014, the OK Kids Korral is a cost-free home for families of children battling cancer.
“Next year, it’ll be the 10th year for OK Kids Korral, 20th year of my foundation party,” Keith shared. “We’re gonna celebrate a ten and a 20 [year], and we’re gonna blow it out. It’s amazing how much support we get. But it takes that kind of support to handle 300 families a year.”
Little Big Town will host the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards. The ceremony will air live from the Grand Ole Opry at 8:00 PM ET on NBC and Peacock. Find updates to Keith’s touring schedule at TobyKeith.com.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Shock Ink / Richard McLaren