Toby Keith says in his first interview since being diagnosed with stomach cancer that he is “thinking about getting back into fighting shape.”
Although acknowledging that his ailment is “very debilitating,” Keith said, “as long as everything stays hunky-dory, then we’ll look at something fantastic in the future.”
Keith spoke with CMT Hot 20 Countdown about his circumstances. “I need some time to rest and heal,” he continued.
Keith declared his illness in June and postponed activities to allow him to get treatment. He has, however, made a few public appearances, including one in November at Lexington, Kentucky’s Jeff Ruby Steakhouse, where he sang “I Love This Bar” and “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Keith featured a picture of a child cancer patient in a beautiful Instagram post earlier this week, writing, “Thumbs up if you’re enjoying #GivingTuesday by contributing to the @tkfoundation1! Your contributions enable the OK Kids Korral, a haven away from home for families with cancer-stricken children.”
Toby Keith, who has seven Grammy nominations and was selected artist of the year by the Academy of Country Music in 2002 and 2003, announced on Sunday that he had stomach cancer.
Keith, 60, posted health updates on social media.
“Last fall, I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’ve had surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy over the last six months. So far, I need some time to unwind, rest, and breathe. I’m looking forward to spending time with my family. But I’m sure I’ll run into the fans soon. I’m becoming impatient.”
Keith will not present at his scheduled appearances “for the time being,” according to his spokesperson, Elaine Schock.
“Old School,” a country song from his most recent album, “Peso in My Pocket,” charted in the top 25.
Keith was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame last November. He recently performed at the Heroes Honor Festival at Daytona International Raceway.
Keith’s illness elicited outpourings of sympathy from well-known friends.
John from Big & Rich “Hang in there, @tobykeith,” Rich tweeted.
“My best wishes for your health and vigor, my friend!” ESPN anchor Hannah Storm responded.
With a photo of the two, musician Sammy Hagar tweeted, “Wishing my big buddy a speedy recovery and a whole lotta love from most redheads worldwide.”
Keith, an Oklahoma native, played football in the USFL and worked in the oil industry before starting a music career.
His self-titled Mercury debut album, released in 1993, was certified platinum after selling over a million copies.
Keith is well known for his 2002 song “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American),” which was partly inspired by the 9/11 terrorist attacks and is known for his conservative views.