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Toby Keith delivered a memorable moment at the first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards on Thursday night (September 28). Keith received the Country Icon Award during the ceremony, which Blake Shelton presented.
Shelton first honored Keith with a performance of his #1 hit, “Who’s Your Daddy?” Then, Keith delivered a short acceptance speech.
Honoring Keith in such a way carried an extra level of meaning. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021, and went public with his diagnosis a few months later.
Keith took some time away from performing to focus on his family and his health. During his acceptance speech, he thanked “the Almighty,” his family, and his fans for sticking by his side throughout his life and career.
Keith also performed during the ceremony. It was his first televised performance since announcing his cancer diagnosis.
The singer chose one of the most emotional songs in his catalog, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.” He released the track in 2018 to accompany the Clint Eastwood film The Mule.
The song includes lyrics such as:
“Many moons I have lived. My body’s weathered and worn. Ask yourself how would you be, If you didn’t know the day you were born.”
People in the audience were seen wiping tears away from their eyes as Keith sang, including his wife, Tricia. Viewers were quick to call Keith’s performance the best of the night.
Keith’s performance at the People’s Choice Country Awards led people to purchase “Don’t Let the Old Man In” on iTunes. The renewed focus on the song is so great, it currently sits at the #1 spot on iTunes’ country chart.
(This information is accurate at the time of this writing on Monday, October 2).
Head below to watch Keith sing “Don’t Let the Old Man In” at the People’s Choice Country Awards. This is one moment country fans will never forget.