Toby Keith Receives People’s Choice ‘Country Icon’ Award, Shares Cancer Update

He performed “Don’t Let the Old Man In” and thanked his fans.

Jackie Kolgraf
September 29, 2023

Photo by Tammie Arroyo/Variety via Getty Images

Country music legend Toby Keith received the prestigious “Country Icon” Award at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards last night (September 28) at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

The ceremony paid tribute to Toby’s remarkable career as a trailblazing musician, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.

Hear Toby Keith and more ’80s/’90s country hitmakers on Prime Country (Ch. 58)

“I feel pretty good,” Toby, who has been battling stomach cancer since the fall of 2021, told E! News ahead of the show. “It’s a little bit of a roller coaster. You get good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down. It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero, but I feel good today.”

Keith chose to perform “Don’t Let the Old Man In” from The Mule (2018) as it spoke to his attitude toward his health battle.

He told NBC, “I’ve been going through my cancer fight for the last couple of years and it’s really inspiring for a lot of people. Coming back on TV for the first time and performing live in front of a live audience, I thought it was fitting.”

Fellow Oklahoman and country star Blake Shelton performed Toby’s song “Who’s Your Daddy?” and highlighted the impact the honoree has had on the music industry and beyond. With 42 top-10 hits, 32 No. 1 singles, and over 40 million albums sold, Keith’s contributions to the genre are unparalleled.

Toby Keith and Blake Shelton - SiriusXM - ACM Awards

Toby Keith and Blake Shelton at the ACM Awards

Toby Keith’s dedication to humanitarian efforts has been equally remarkable. His charitable work with The Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, providing support for children battling critical illnesses, has earned him recognition and admiration. The annual charity golf classic hosted by Keith has become a symbol of hope for those in need.

Beyond his philanthropic efforts, Keith’s commitment to supporting the troops has been exceptional. Having received the Spirit of the USO Award in 2014, the country music star has embarked on 11 USO tours, participating in over 280 events across 18 countries, and touching the lives of nearly 256,000 troops and military families.