Country music superstar Toby Keith has been receiving treatment for stomach cancer since fall 2021, according to statements shared on his official Instagram and Twitter.
In the brief message to his fans, Keith addressed his diagnosis with optimism.
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” the statement read. “I’ve spent the last 6 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. -T”
The performer, who was awarded the National Medal of Arts by then-President Trump in 2021, has released 32 no. 1 singles and completed 11 USO tours, according to the January 2021 release from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Keith, 60, released his debut album in 1993. In 2002, the Oklahoma-born singer cemented his place in contemporary country music history with his song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” a response to the 9/11 attacks one year earlier, which topped out at no. 25 on the Billboard charts.
The news of his diagnosis comes in the middle of Keith’s current tour for his latest album, Peso In My Pocket, with performances scheduled in Illinois and Michigan for June 17 and 18.
Long before a diagnosis of his own, Keith was an advocate for cancer patients. In 2006, the musician founded the Toby Keith Foundation to support children with cancer.
A statement on the foundation’s website reads: “There is no greater gift than keeping families strong and together during a difficult time. If we can alleviate stress on a family, encourage a brother or sister and comfort a sick child, then we will make a difference in the fight against cancer.”