TOUGH-AS-NAILS Toby Keith is in a desperate fight for his life after enduring grueling chemotherapy and radiation treatments for the stomach cancer that caused the country superstar to scrap his entire 2022 tour, sources spill.
Keith, who turns 61 on July 8, was diagnosed with the dreaded disease in late 2021, shortly after completing a string of 30 performances. But alarm bells sounded on June 13 — the day after he publicly revealed his shocking diagnosis — when his team announced the “As Good as I Once Was” singer was canceling ALL of his concerts for the year!
“Toby bravely soldiered on by playing a couple of shows earlier this year — even while he was receiving treatment. But you know when he is canceling concerts five months down the road, he is facing a very tough situation,” says a friend, noting the National Cancer Institute lists the overall five-year survival rate for stomach cancer at just 32.9 percent!
The pal notes plucky Keith honored two major commitments in May — hosting his annual charity golf tournament to raise $1.38 million for the Children’s Hospital at Oklahoma University and a Memorial Day weekend concert in Daytona, Fla.
“But Toby said he just wasn’t feeling right — his treatments really wore on his body,” the friend confides.
“Doctors told him traveling around the country on a tour bus — especially while COVID-19 is still out there and he has a weakened immune system from his chemo and radiation — was just courting disaster. He hates to cancel shows, but his life is on the line here.”
A confidant notes the “Red Solo Cup” singer — who told fans he needed “time to breathe, recover and relax” when he made his heartbreaking announcement — has the unwavering support of Tricia Lucus, his loyal wife of 38 years, along with their three adult children, Stelen, Krystal and Shelley, and four grandchildren.
“Toby has already gone through surgery to stop the cancer’s spread,” the source says. “And he is facing more treatments in the coming weeks.
“Toby loves being around his fans. But he says now is the time to hunker down and be with his family, to pray together for better days.
“He lives for the concert stage, and he is determined his stomach cancer won’t be the end of him. Toby says he’s still got more chapters in his life to write, and he’s going to lick this thing.
“Given how determined Toby is, you’d be a fool to bet against him!”