Toby Keith Plays First Performance Since His Cancer Diagnosis
Toby Keith popped up for a mini set at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse in Lexington, Ky., on Friday night (Nov. 4), performing for patrons for over an hour, according to Classic Country Music.
The star was in town for the 2022 Breeder's Cup, an annual two-day event at the city's Keeneland Racetrack.
Among the songs Keith performed was his 2003 hit "I Love This Bar," according to video footage captured from the audience during his surprise performance. He appeared to be performing with the house band, including a piano, and he was joined onstage by the proprietor Jeff Ruby himself, according to a tweet from radio station K 92.9 WVLK FM.
It was Keith's first public performance since June, when he announced that he'd been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The country star has been in treatment for around a year: When he shared the news with his fans, he explained that he received his diagnosis in late 2021.
"I've spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good," Keith said at the time. "I need time to breathe, recover and relax." He subsequently wiped his tour calendar clean, canceling all the 2022 dates he had on the books and, in September, nixing his plans to appear at a cancer benefit.
Next up, Keith is scheduled to be honored at the 2022 BMI Awards on Tuesday (Nov. 8) with the prestigious BMI Icon Award, in recognition of his significant songwriting achievements over the years. It's unclear whether or not he plans to attend the Nashville ceremony in person.
He has expressed his gratitude to his fans for their support ever since he revealed his diagnosis, writing on social media that he has "the best fans in the world."