The Oklahoma native burst on to the country music scene in 1993 with breakout single “Shoulda Been A Cowboy,” which went on to become the most played country song of the ’90s. During his illustrious career, he released nearly 20 studio albums, had 20 #1 singles, and won dozens of awards including multiple ACM Entertainer of the Year awards.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.
In June of 2022, Toby had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, saying:
“I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.”
A few months ago, Toby performed two surprise pop-up shows at Hollywood Corners, a bar that he owns in his home state of Oklahoma during what was supposed to just be a short rehearsal to test the waters.
Toby‘s first rehearsal turned into a 2 1/2 hour pop-up show. He sang all the hits plus the Bus Songs…Toby is back!
And more recently, Toby gave his first televised performance since his cancer diagnosis with a heartbreaking performance of “Don’t Let The Old Man In” at the People’s Choice Country Awards, where he also gave an update on his health and his future plans:
“I’ve walked some dark hallways. The Almighty’s riding shotgun.
But I feel pretty good. You have good days and bad days, but it’s a little bit of a rollercoaster. But I’m doing a lot better than I was this time last year.
I’ve always wrote with a prayer, and as long as I have Him with me, I’m cool. You just have to dig in, you don’t have a choice.”
Toby sat down with Katie Neal on Audacy’s Superstar Power Hour to discuss his comeback and give an update on his cancer battle:
“I’m doing really good. It’s been a tough two years, but I think I’m turning a corner… I don’t know if you’re ever done with it, but I’m trying to be. I’ve never had a year off in my life, and this is my 30th year in the business. So it was really weird just sitting here with your handcuffs on.”
Keith is survived by his wife, Tricia, three children and four grandchildren.