Watch Toby Keith’s Acceptance Speech for His People’s Choice Icon Award
Toby Keith was awarded the first-ever Icon Award at the first-ever People's Choice Country Awards on Thursday night (Sept. 28). His big moment is one fans will be talking about for months to come.
The country veteran was on hand to accept the honor in person, marking his first television appearance since he revealed his stomach cancer diagnosis in June of 2022.
Still as good as he once was, Keith cracked a joke to open his acceptance speech.
"Bet y'all never thought you'd see me in skinny jeans," he quipped, highlighting his significant weight loss amid his cancer battle — a sobering reminder to fans, despite the laughter.
"I wanna thank the Almighty for allowing me to be here tonight," he remarked with conviction. "He's been riding shotgun with me for awhile." Watch Keith's full People's Choice Country Awards speech below.
The "Red Solo Cup" singer took a moment to thank his family, and cameras showed his wife, Tricia Lucus, smiling from the audience at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. Keith also expressed gratitude for his manager, team, musicians and more.
Then, he turned his attention to fans.
"Most of all I want to thank the fans for still allowing us to do what we do," Keith declared, raising his trophy up in triumph.
The "Should've Been a Cowboy" singer was celebrated in grand fashion during the awards show: His longtime friend Blake Shelton started a tribute to the legend by covering Keith's hit song "Who's Your Daddy?" and sharing a heartfelt message about his fellow Oklahoman.
The 30-year country veteran also took the stage to perform one of his own songs, one he wrote in 2018 for a movie, "Don't Let the Old Man In." After Thursday night's appearance and Keith's ongoing health struggles, the song takes on new meaning.
Many were seen wiping tears from their eyes in the crowd, including Tricia, and it appeared Keith had a tear or two glimmering in his own eyes.
The "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" star feels hopeful to return to the road this fall, though dates have not been announced. Keith's wholly-self-written greatest hits album 100% Songwriter will arrive Nov. 3.