Toby Keith Opens Up About His Reaction To Cancer Diagnosis, “I Got Scared”
Taste of Country/YouTube
It’s been two years since Toby Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and the singer recently opened up for the first time about his reaction to getting the diagnosis.
In an interview with Taste of Country Nights, country music legend Toby Keith got candid about his reaction to finding out that he had cancer. Toby admitted that his initial reaction was fear, saying, “That’s a bridge that you’ve never crossed before and I had just lost an acquaintance.”
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Toby went on to share that a man he had met one month prior had died just 10 days after being diagnosed with cancer.
“We were playing golf in September of ’21 up at the lake house. My college buddy had his buddy in and we’re all playing golf, having a beer. My buddy goes, ‘This guy never sleeps.’ I didn’t know him … was the first time I ever met him. Played golf three days with the guy.”
Two weeks later, Toby received a call from him buddy informing him that the man they had golfed with had been given two weeks to live following a cancer diagnosis. Within ten days he had passed away.
“A month later I get diagnosed,” Toby recalled. “And a month after that, my son’s fiancee, who doesn’t have a father, she asked him if I’d walk her down the aisle. And I’m going, ‘Well, if I’m like the last guy, I’m not gonna make it.’ So, he** yeah I got scared.”
But, Toby wasn’t the last guy. In fact, he went on to fight his cancer diagnosis through surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and a plenty of determination.
Roughly two years after his diagnosis, Toby Keith took the stage at the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards for his first televised performance since his cancer battle began. The “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” singer told Taste of Country Nights that he didn’t anticipate the impact his performance of “Don’t Let The Old Man In” and said it’s something that couldn’t be planned.
“I think with me being out of the public eye, COVID, and fighting cancer two years, and really not being out there going … I’m in my 30th year and I’ve never taken a year off,” Toby said, adding that he knew people were curious to see and hear him after word got out that he would be performing at the PCCAs. “It just spotlighted the moment and the song so much that when I hit the stage it was like everybody was wanting to see what’s left, you know? What’s he got left? And so I had their attention. And then you drop that heavy-hitting song on them, it was just a magical moment.”
Keith admitted that he wasn’t feeling the best during that “magical” performance, saying that he now feels great and is done with chemotherapy.
“It takes awhile. You have to be the captain of your own ship … You just have to dig in and get everybody in the right place, get the right people and pray for the right results,” the 62-year-old said. “I’ve finally got it in a spot where I’m really comfortable with it. Everything is trending really well right now.”
See part of Toby Keith’s interview with Taste of Country Nights in the video below.