Country music superstar Toby Keith has announced that he has been battling stomach cancer since late last year, but he has undergone treatment and plans to return to the stage soon.
In a statement posted to his verified Twitter and Instagram accounts Sunday, Keith said he was diagnosed with cancer last fall.
“I’ve had chemo, radiation and surgery for the past six months. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax,” the statement read. “I look forward to spending time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner rather than later. I can not wait. -T”
According to his official website, Keith will play the Ribfest in Illinois on June 17.
He released his latest album – “Peso in My Pocket” – last year after taking time out from touring due to the Covid pandemic, the site says.
In 2021, then-President Donald Trump awarded Keith the National Medal of Arts, described by the National Endowment for the Arts as “the highest award bestowed by the United States government on artists and art patrons.”
“Toby Keith is a singer, songwriter, musician and humanitarian who has completed 11 USO Tours to date. He has 32 #1 singles,” the National Endowment for the Arts said in a January 2021 release.
Born in Oklahoma, Keith released his debut album in 1993 and is known for hits such as “Red Solo Cup” and “I Wanna Talk About Me.” His 2002 song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)”, released in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, made him a household name.
Keith has performed hundreds of shows for US military personnel abroad, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as at events for Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.