Toby Keith Was ‘Feeling Good’ + Looking Forward in His Final Taste of Country Interview
Toby Keith was still fighting cancer, but he was "feeling good" and determined to move forward in his final interview with Taste of Country in November of 2023.
Keith spoke to Taste of Country Nights host Evan Paul after his show-stopping performance at the People's Choice Country Awards, where he delivered a stunningly powerful rendition of "Don't Let the Old Man In." The overwhelming reaction to that performance gave him heart to move forward, and in that final chat, he said he didn't intend to let his cancer fight define him, adding that he was no longer afraid.
"I feel great today," Keith said, adding, "It takes awhile. You have to be the captain of your own ship, and doctors and the medical world are just like any other profession. You got a lot of people on these teams, and you just have to dig in and get everybody in the right place — get the right people and pray for the right results."
"I finally got it in a spot where I'm really comfortable with it," Keith added. "Everything's trending really well right now, and I'm not gonna let this define the rest of my life. If I live to be 100 or I don't, I'm going to go forward. I'm feeling good and I'm off of chemo and I'm rolling. We're just going business as usual, going forward."
Keith admitted that he was thrown for a loop when he was first diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021. He had played golf with a friend and an acquaintance recently, and two weeks afterward, his friend called to tell him that their mutual acquaintance had been given two weeks to live. He died ten days later, Keith recalled.
"So a month later I get diagnosed, and a month after that my son's fiancee who doesn't have a father, she asked him if I'd walk her down the aisle at my son's wedding," he shared. "I'm going, 'If I'm like the last guy, I ain't gonna make it.' So, hell yeah, I got scared."
His last words in that interview revealed the grit, determination and fighting spirit that defined his life and career.
"But I ain't afraid anymore," Keith said defiantly. "John Wayne this son of a b---h."
Keith subsequently announced a string of three shows in Las Vegas. The triumphant, sold-out shows turned out to be the last live performances of his lifetime.
"He fought his fight with grace and courage," the statement adds.
Keith was 62 years old. Funeral plans are pending.
See Photos From Toby Keith's Final Shows in Las Vegas
Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak