Toby Keith has sold out arenas, produced chart-topping hits and been one of the most popular faces in the country music scene for more than 25 years. Fans rallied behind the CMA Award winner when he revealed his cancer diagnosis to the world. 

When Was Toby Keith Diagnosed With Cancer? 

The “American Soldier” singer took to social media to share the news of his cancer diagnosis and treatment in June 2022. 

“​​Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” he penned. “I’ve spent the last six months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax. I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”

Toby Keith performs onstage during the 2021 iHeartCountry Festival
Erika Goldring/WireImage

Following the announcement, Toby’s performance at the Ohio State Fair, initially scheduled for July 2022, was canceled. “Our hearts go out to Toby Keith as he courageously battles cancer,” the event’s official Twitter account wrote in a statement. 

The hitmaker went on to cancel more than a dozen shows across the U.S. to focus on his health and recovery. He showed love to his fans on Instagram, writing, “Thank you for all your love and support. I have the best fans in the world.”

Throughout his cancer battle, Toby has had the support of his wife, Tricia Lucus, whom he married in 1984. The pair share three children: Shelley Covel Rowland, Krystal Keith and Stelen Keith.

Toby Keith Gave Updates on His Health After His Cancer Diagnosis

In December 2022, Toby gave an update on his health for the first time during an interview on CMT Hot 20 Countdown. In the episode, the songwriter candidly revealed he needed “a little bit of time to just rest up and heal up.”

“It’s pretty debilitating to have to go through all that, but as long as everything stays hunky-dory, then we’ll look at something good in the future,” he added. 

Just weeks before the interview, Toby was honored with the BMI Icon Award at the BMI Country Awards in Nashville. On stage, the country music icon gave a speech about his passion for songwriting. 

​​”I always felt that the songwriting was the most important part of this whole industry,” he said. “Everybody — rock, country, R&B, whatever it was — the artists that I had were songwriters. They weren’t artists that covered music, they were songwriter-artists. Something in my gut, down in my core, said that that was what I wanted to do.”

In September 2023, Toby appeared at the People’s Choice Country Awards to accept the Country Icon Award. Tricia joined him on the red carpet and at the ceremony. He also took the stage to perform “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” a song choice that had a deep meaning for the star.

“Well, mainly because I’ve been going through my cancer fight for the last couple of years and it’s really inspiring for a lot of people,” he told reporters ahead of the performance. “And coming back on TV for the first time and performing live in front of a live audience, I thought it was fitting.”

Tricia was seen shedding tears in the crowd, proud of her husband for everything he has accomplished so far.

“I want to thank my beautiful family that’s here,” he said during his acceptance speech. “And most of all, I want to thank the fans for still allowing us to do what we do.”