Toby Keith's Surprise Performance Marks His First Since Cancer Battle

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Toby Keith returned to the stage over the weekend when he reportedly made a surprise appearance at a Kentucky bar. It marked the first live performance by the country superstar since he announced earlier this year that he would take “time to breathe, recover and relax” amid his battle with stomach cancer.

Keith, 61, made his appearance at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky. Cincinnati-based restaurant owner Jeff Ruby, of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, shared clips of Keith’s appearance on Twitter on Saturday (November 5). Among them was a clip of Keith performing his 2003 smash-hit, “I Love This Bar.”

Keith also performed “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynard, delivered a duet of “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding with Ruby, and other songs during the surprise performance, according to a report by the Cincinnati Enquirer on Monday (November 7). Ruby also tweeted a photo with Keith the day before sharing clips his surprise appearance, on Friday (November 4), saying: “If I lose a fortune at [Keeneland] today I will still have had a great day. Seeing [Toby Keith] alive, well, being Toby and looking great ( and trim too) was an incredible thing to see. See ya tonight pal. Millions of your fans are happy as well.”

The “Red Solo Cup” artist shared in a statement in June that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer the previous fall. At that time, Keith had spend several months “receiving chemo, radiation and surgery,” he said in his statement. “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. -T.”