Toby Keith Relies On His Faith While Battling Cancer: ‘I Just Pray’

Toby Keith was undoubtedly afraid when he received the news last year that he had stomach cancer, but he refused to give in to the fear. The 62-year-old is opening up about his health, and how he has gotten through his scary ordeal.

“I lean on my faith and I just pray and lean into it,” Keith recently told Fox News. “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.”

Keith was honored with the Country Icon Award, presented to him by Blake Shelton, at last week’s People’s Choice Country Awards. He also used the time to share his spirituality, and how he got through the scary season.

“Just my faith,” Keith told Extra. “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.”

Still, even with his strong faith, Keith admitted dealing with his cancer diagnosis, and the treatments he endured to beat the cancer were frightening.

“I walked some dark hallways,” Keith said. “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.”

A silver lining amid the challenges for Keith was being recognized at the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards for his successful 30 years in country music.

“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 kept his humor intact when accepting the award during the live broadcast of the People’s Choice Country Awards.

“I bet you never thought you’d see me in skinny jeans,” Keith quipped 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.”

Keith hopes to resume touring this fall. His 13-track 100% Songwriter album will be out in November, featuring 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