Toby Keith was honored with The Country Icon Award at the first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards on Thursday, September 28.
Blake Shelton was in attendance to deliver a heartfelt tribute to Keith, who took Shelton on tour very early in his career.
Shelton performed Keith’s hit songs “Who’s Your Daddy,” before diving into a speech honoring that left the crowd in a fit of laughter and a fit of tears all at once. Toby walked onstage and kicked off his brief yet meaningful acceptance with a light-hearted joke about wearing skinny jeans. He then extended his gratitude to “the Almighty,” his beautiful family, and every individual who contributed to his journey, concluding with a warm acknowledgment of his devoted fans.
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) September 29, 2023
The People’s Choice Country Awards were held at the illustrious Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Notably, this event also marked Toby Keith’s inaugural televised performance following his battle with stomach cancer in the autumn of 2021. He revealed on June 12, 2022 that he had been quietly undergoing chemo and radiation.
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But before he went on stage to accept his award, and later give an emotional performance, he waked the red carpet where he caught up with some reporters. One interviewer asked him how he’s been feeling and he said:
“I’ve walked some dark hallways. The Almighty has been ridin’ shotgun, but I feel pretty good. There’s good days and bad days, it’s a little bit of a rollercoaster, but I’m doing a lot better than I was this time last year.”
When asked what’s been his inspiration for keeping him so strong as he battles cancer, he said, “My faith. I’ve always wrote with a prayer and as long as I have Him with me, you just have to dig in, you don’t have a choice.”
Watch his interview below.