What he shared about his cancer journey

Country singer Toby Keith has died a little over two years after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021.

A message on the singer’s website announced the news.

Keith’s health had previously made headlines as he continued to share details about his cancer treatment. He even performed for the first time since his diagnosis at People’s Choice Country Awards on Sept. 28, 2023.

Since then, he also sold out three nights of shows taking place in Las Vegas in December 2023.

Here’s what else we know about Keith’s health and illness.

Toby Keith attends the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards at The Grand Ole Opry on Sep. 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Terry Wyatt/Getty images)

Toby Keith died on Feb. 5, 2024

Toby Keith died on Feb. 5, 2024, after a little more than two years of living with stomach cancer.

“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family,” a message on his website stated. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Keith had undergone multiple treatments for his cancer, including months of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. He performed several times a few months before his death — three sold-out shows in Las Vegas in December and at the People’s Choice Country Awards in September 2023.

The country star first revealed that he’d been diagnosed with cancer in June 2022, about six months after he’d started treatment. He received his diagnosis in the fall of 2021.

Since then, he opened up about being treated for stomach cancer, noting that the condition can be “debilitating” and he was trying to get back into “fighting shape” with the hope of performing again.

What kind of cancer did Toby Keith have?

Keith revealed that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in a message shared to the public in 2022.

“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” Keith posted in June 2022 when he made his diagnosis public. “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 this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, occurs when cancer cells develop in any part of the stomach, but in the U.S. it most often starts where the esophagus connects to the stomach, according to Mayo Clinic.

Dr. William Chey, gastroenterologist at University of Michigan Health, tells TODAY.com that the treatments Keith received “would be much more typical for late-stage stomach cancers.”

He adds that stomach cancer is usually diagnosed in late stages because the early signs of stomach cancer, such as indigestion, abdominal pain and nausea, are “symptoms that we all get and easy to ignore.”

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer worldwide and affects men and people of color more than women or whites. Your risk of stomach cancer can increase due to genetics, certain medical conditions, diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in processed foods, tobacco use and your environment.

Common symptoms of stomach cancer include trouble swallowing, pain in your abdomen, feeling bloated or full after having small amounts of food, not feeling hungry, nausea, heartburn, indigestion, vomiting, losing weight, fatigue and black stools.

Did Toby Keith still perform after his diagnosis?

Keith performed for a full crowd in December 2023. He announced on Nov. 3 that all three of his shows at Las Vegas’ Dolby Live venue were sold out.

At the inaugural People’s Choice Country Awards at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Sept. 28, Keith shared how he was doing, saying, “I feel pretty good.”

“It’s a little bit of a roller coaster,” he continued to E! News. “You get good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down. It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero, but I feel good today.”

Toby Keith and Tricia Lucus posed together at the 2023 People's Choice Country Awards. (Terry Wyatt / Getty Images)

Toby Keith and Tricia Lucus posed together at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards. (Terry Wyatt / Getty Images)

He attended the event with wife Tricia Lucus and performed “Don’t Let the Old Man In” from Clint Eastwood’s movie “The Mule.” He said he chose the song because of his cancer.

“I’ve been going through my cancer fight for the last couple of years, and it’s really inspiring for a lot of people,” he said during NBC’s pre-show event. “And coming back on TV for the first time and performing live in front of a live audience, I thought it was fitting.”

Toby Keith performs on stage during the awards show.  (Mickey Bernal/NBC / NBC via Getty Images)

Toby Keith performs on stage during the awards show. (Mickey Bernal/NBC / NBC via Getty Images)

What did Toby Keith share about his prognosis?

When Keith first shared his diagnosis publicly, he did not provide a specific prognosis or stage of his cancer but did explain that his treatment would require chemotherapy, radiation and surgery for at least six months.

When caught in an early stage, most stomach cancers are curable. However, most stomach cancers are actually found in later stages, making them harder to treat, Mayo Clinic notes.

In June 2023, he told The Oklahoman that his treatments have been working, saying that his tumor had shrunk by one-third and his blood scans indicated his health was moving in the right direction.

“I’m about another eight weeks from my last scan,” he said. “So I expect next time I look for that tumor to be even less — and I’ve only got one that’s shown up. Basically, everything is in a real positive trend.”

In a December 2022 interview with “CMT Hot 20 Countdown,” he said he felt optimistic about his prognosis. “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,” he said.

Did Toby Keith tour in 2023?

The country singer performed in Las Vegas for three nights in late 2023 — Dec. 10, 11 and 14. He announced on Instagram on Nov. 3 that all three nights had sold out already. According to his website, he does not having any other upcoming performance dates besides the three nights in Las Vegas in December 2023.

How old was Toby Keith when he died?

Keith was 62 years old when he passed away.

When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in fall 2021, he was about 60 years old.

Does Toby Keith have kids?

Yes, Keith had three children with wife Tricia Lucus. The oldest is daughter Shelley Covel Rowland, who is in her 40s; followed by singer-songwriter and daughter Krystal Keith, 38; and son Stelen Keith Covel, who is in his 20s.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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