Country music star Toby Keith announced Sunday that he has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and has sought aggressive treatment through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery for the last six months.

Keith, 60, announced in a brief statement shared on his social media accounts. “So far, so good,” he wrote. “I need time to breathe, recover and relax.” While Keith said he plans to spend the coming days with his family, he is eager to return to the stage, writing, “I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”

Just minutes after the “American Soldier” singer shared the update, the Ohio State Fair announced Keith’s July 28 performance was canceled. While the star has performed throughout his treatment, it’s not yet clear what his schedule will look like moving forward.

Keith’s publicist, Elaine Schock, told The Hill some of the singer’s tour dates will be canceled but noted she is unsure how many will ultimately be removed.

The “Red Solo Cup” star was met immediately with an outpouring of support from fans, fellow country music entertainers, and celebrities. Fellow country artist John Rich told Keith to “hang in there,” while Sammy Haggar said, “wishing my big buddy a speedy recovery and a whole lotta love from most redheads around the world.”

Keith has been a longtime advocate for those facing cancer diagnoses. In 2004, he founded Ally’s House, a nonprofit assisting Oklahoma children with cancer and their families. The group was inspired by Allison Webb, the 2-year-old daughter of Keith’s original band member Scott Webb and his wife, Lisa. Allison passed away from kidney cancer in 2003, just shy of her third birthday.

Then, Keith launched the Toby Keith Foundation in 2006 to further advocate for pediatric cancer patients. His foundation opened the OK Kids Korral in 2014. The facility is a cost-free and joy-filled home for pediatric cancer patients undergoing treatment at the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.

This diagnosis comes off as so stunning to many because Toby Keith has been seemingly plugging along just fine in his music career of late, pumping out a new album and even performing live with regular social media posts, including ones that show in good spirits.

Keith recently announced he’d be playing a new concert later this year in November, during Coachella Crossroads in California, but it’s unclear if that gig will proceed now. Tickets have already gone on sale, and the venue hasn’t declared any change in schedule or plans. Keith was ultimately diagnosed with the disease he was helping so many others get through. It’s great to know that Keith is in good spirits, but it’s also fascinating that he’s been dealing with this diagnosis for six months and hadn’t said anything publicly until now.

Perhaps Keith didn’t want people to feel sympathetic for him, seeking some form of normalcy. Please pray for Keith, his wife Tricia Lucus, their three children — Krystal, Shelley, and Stelen — and their loved ones as they navigate the singer’s treatment and recovery.

 

 

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