Toby Keith is opening up about his battle with stomach cancer in a new interview with the CMT Hot 20 Countdown. The 61-year-old country legend revealed earlier this summer that he was taking a break from music to undergo chemotherapy, radiation and surgery after getting a stomach cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2021.
“I’m thinkin’ about getting back in fighting shape,” Keith said in a preview of the interview posted earlier this week. “I need a little bit of time to rest up, 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. The full interview will air on Saturday (Dec. 3) at 9 a.m. ET.
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” Keith tweeted in June. “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 time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
Keith cancelled some dates as a result of the diagnosis, then made a surprise appearance at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky in early November, where owner Ruby said he performed songs including his 2003 hit “I Love This Bar”; it was Keith first performance since revealing his cancer diagnosis.
Ruby also shared a photo of himself with Keith, saying, “Grateful for my good friend Toby Keith! Rocking our Lexington stage after a year of kicking cancer’s a–!”
Watch an excerpt from Keith’s interview below.