Toby Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in June 2022 after which he has taken the time to "breathe, recover and relax."
Toby Keith and his wife Tricia Lucus have been married for more than 38 years and have three children and four grandchildren together. It is a close-knit family and since Keith's cancer diagnosis, they have been spending more time together. Keith and Lucus got married on March 24, 1984. According to Lucus, "He was just one of those larger-than-life guys, full of confidence," she recalled. They met at a club when Tricia Lucus was an oil-company secretary. “I was 19 and he was 20,” she says. They dated for three years before marrying in 1984.
“Most people think he is just the most romantic person on the planet,” Lucus told PEOPLE. “He has his moments of charm. It is nice to get a bouquet of flowers, but I’ve told him, ‘Save the money. Roses die in five to seven days. Buy me an outfit or take me to dinner.’ ”
They haven't had an easy life. During the time they got married, Keith was working in the oil fields and earning well. He also used to perform with his band, Easy Money. Things changed once he lost his job and he decided to focus on his music career. After many years of financial woes, finally Keith made it with his hard work and is seen as one of the most popular singers.
He has three children, Shelley, Krystal, and Stelen. Shelley was adopted once Keith got married to his wife, according to Taste of Country. However, Krystal shares a great relationship with her father and went on to follow in his footsteps and became a country singer. She said that their father has always been present for them. "I think it speaks volumes that the way I kind of remember childhood is I don't really remember him being gone," she said. "When he was home, he was so present that I don't remember the spans of him being gone."
However, on June 12, 2022, Keith announced on Instagram that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He wrote, "I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation, and surgery." He added, So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax. I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait."
Since 2006, he has been an advocate for cancer patients. He founded the Toby Keith Foundation to provide support for children with cancer. In 2014, the foundation opened OK Kids Korral, "a cost-free, convenient and comfortable home for pediatric cancer patients receiving treatment," according to PEOPLE.
"There is no greater gift than keeping families strong and together during a difficult time," a statement on his foundation's website read. "If we can alleviate stress on a family, encourage a brother or sister and comfort a sick child, then we will make a difference in the fight against cancer."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Jason Kempin