Here’s the Real Reason Why Toby Keith Went Public With His Stomach Cancer Diagnosis

Country music star Toby Keith is sharing a major health update with his fans and revealing a secret he’s been carrying silently in the process.

In a new Instagram post on Sunday, the 60-year-old singer revealed that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery,” he shared in a brief statement via Instagram. “So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.”

He continued, “I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”

Toby’s brief yet telling announcement was met with countless messages of support, as fans, fellow country singers and other celebrities flooded the comments with prayers for his recovery. “Much love your way, Toby ?❤️,” wrote CMT host Cody Alan. “Hang in there, @tobykeith,” tweeted John Rich, of country duo Big & Rich.

Some fans, however, also expressed concerns in the comments and elsewhere on social media about why the country star waited so long to come forward about his condition. A few wondered if he was in serious condition: “I pray God gives him the strength to get through this; apparently this has gone on for several months now,” one Twitter user shared.

“That’s a scary diagnosis, but I have faith you can get through it,” another added. And others added wishes for remission: “So sad to hear about Toby Keith’s cancer. I pray for his health and [for] him to be [free from] this horrible disease,” one fan shared.

While curiosity and concern for Keith’s degrading health are understandable, there’s a more likely reason why Toby chose to announce his diagnosis now. The “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” singer was slated to kick off a best-hits tour, Country Comes to Town, this month — which he will presumably now postpone or cancel entirely.

Though Toby didn’t explicitly mention tour news in his Instagram post, USA Today reports that the singer’s publicist confirmed that he will not be playing any upcoming shows “for now.” Additionally, the organizers of the Ohio State Fair — which Toby was scheduled to perform at on July 28 — announced that the show was canceled on Twitter. “Our hearts go out to Toby Keith as he courageously battles cancer,” the message reads.

Though he has yet to detail his exact course of treatment, Toby’s need for “time to breathe, recover and relax” is likely an understatement, as any additional stress from a grueling tour may impact scheduled chemotherapy and radiation sessions, as well as surgery.

According to materials published by the American Cancer Society, treatment for stomach cancer involves receiving chemotherapy in cycles, “with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to allow the body time to recover,” while surgery for stomach cancer is complex and can have complications.

Like Toby, we can’t wait for him to see his fans again “sooner than later” — but in the meantime, we’re wishing him a speedy recovery.


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