Toby Keith has an entirely new appreciation for his fans. The 62-year-old had no idea, when he revealed in 2022 that he was battling stomach cancer, how quickly his fans all over the world would react to the news.
“The love that poured out from the whole world when I announced it was overwhelming at first,” Keith told News on 6. “I didn’t know anybody really cared that much.”
Keith also praised his wife of almost 40 years, Tricia, for her unwavering support from the moment he was diagnosed.
“Oh, she’s been a trooper. She’s the best nurse,” Keith praised. “The first time we went to Houston, to the hospital, she stepped right in and she just took control and said, ‘We got this. Let’s go.’ So she’s like, ‘We’re going to get this, and don’t worry about it.’”
In the months and years since his diagnosis, the Oklahoma native has learned to take the highs and lows of his illness.
“Cancer is a roller coaster, so it’s like, you just sit here and wait on it to go away, and it may not ever go away,” Keith reflected. “If it goes into remission, it will still be in the back of your mind.”
In addition to his family and fans, Keith has also relied on his strong faith, in a way that he never had to until his illnesss.
“You take it for granted on the days that things are good, and you lean on it when days are bad,” Keith said.“It has taught me to lean on a little more every day.”
Although still receiving treatment, Keith is on his way to healing, and optimistic about his future, even as he says he made peace with whatever the outcome.
“I was going through all the chemo, radiation, surgery, and I got to the point where I was comfortable with whatever happened,” said the singer. “I had my brain wrapped around it, and I was in a good spot either way.”
“It’s on the board,” Keith told Taste of Country Nights, On Demand. “They have got a great plan together, and we’ve built a new set, and we’re getting the trucks and buses fired up. Our plan is to go forward, don’t let this stuff define our future — let’s go.”
Find all of Keith’s music and upcoming shows at TobyKeith.com