Toby Keith could ‘barely sing’ and was ‘shaking’ in one of last ever performances – his wife couldn’t hold back her tears

The world of country music lost an icon earlier this week with the passing of Toby Keith after a battle with stomach cancer.

The 62-year-old was diagnosed in 2021, thereafter undergoing six months of treatment. Sadly, despite Keith’s undeniable bravery and assurances that he would doggedly fight the disease to the end, the How Do You Look Me Now? singer passed away on the evening of February 5, 2024.

His death naturally sent shockwaves throughout the music industry and beyond, not least among his legion of fans, many of whom were praying for his recovery.

It was in an Instagram post in June 2022 that Toby Keith revealed to the world that he had stomach cancer. The superstar said at the time that he was undergoing treatments including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, and was looking to take time away from his career to be with his family.

“I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation, and surgery,” he wrote in a tweet. “So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.”

“I am looking forward to spending time with my family,” Keith added. “But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”

Yet his passion for playing music did not wane. In September 2023, Keith delivered one of his last ever performances, singing Don’t Let the Old Man In at the People’s Choice Country Awards held at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

The considerable effort it took for Keith to deliver the performance was not lost on his fans. One wrote: “Yall see him shaking? He fought hell to sing that song. And he nailed it.”

Another stated their belief that his ‘shaking’ was down to, “Medication side effects or nerves…or both.”

Sitting in the audience at the event was Keith’s wife Tricia, who was visibly moved as she watched her husband.

After receiving the Country Icon Award at the same gala, Keith gave a light-hearted acceptance speech where he told the audience: “I bet you never thought y’all’d see me in skinny jeans.”

Towards the back end of last year, Keith had expressed optimism over his fight with cancer, noting that his tumor had shrunk by a third since his diagnosis. According to reports, he continued to make public appearances in 2023, performing shows in Las Vegas in December.

Days prior to his passing, the country music icon shared a video reminiscing about his early days in the industry. Since the announcement of his death, tributes have flooded in from all over the world.

Rest in peace, Toby Keith, and thank you for the memories.

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