Brett Favre has described the phone call he had with his friend Toby Keith just weeks before his death as he reflected on their friendship and how the late country icon approached his cancer battle.
Speaking with TMZ, Favre revealed he had a phone call with his friend about two weeks ago. Keith passed away at age 62 following a battle with stomach cancer.
‘I think in the end, he was just tired,’ Favre, 54, told the outlet. ‘He did say that to me when we had our conversation. He said, “Brett, whatever happens, I’m OK with it.” Of course I was hoping that what happened wouldn’t have happened.
‘He handled it with grace and faith and family. And stood up to the cancer about as good as you can.’
Favre also said his friend had ‘put on a brave front. He went from 260 to 130. He looked it.’
Brett Favre has recalled a phone call he had with the late Toby Keith in his final days, describing how the late country icon was ‘tired’; Favre, L, and Keith pictured in 2019
Favre also revealed Keith had informed him he had ceased chemotherapy, concerned the treatments had caused ‘more damage’ than his stomach cancer.
Asked if he had an idea Keith wasn’t doing well, Favre said: ‘About every three months I would check in on him, knowing that he had stomach cancer, and that he was fighting that, but I saw he’d play three shows in Vegas, and he didn’t look very good on Instagram.’
‘But, I said, maybe he’s turning a corner. So I sent him a message, I said, “Hey man, great to see you’re back up playing and I’m hoping you turn a corner.”‘
‘And he said, “I quit chemo, it probably did more damage to me than the cancer did.” And he said, “I’m just hoping I didn’t quit it too late.”‘
But Keith was happy he was able to perform. ‘But he said, “I’m thankful I got a chance to play some shows, I finished them.” So I didn’t ask them, what’s the future hold for you? And he didn’t divulge anything, we just had a general conversation. And gosh darnnit, two weeks later he passed away.’
Favre also shared fond memories of Keith with the outlet, recalling how they struck up a friendship in the mid-90s.
‘We go way back,’ Brett began. ‘We did a concert, Brown County Arena, right across from Lambo, I think it was 95 or 94, and I went over, of course I was a big fan, and we struck up a friendship that was up until he passed away.’
Brett also recalled memories of a happy Keith on the golf course: ‘I can’t remember a good or a bad shot he hit.’
Keith passed away at age 62 following a battle with stomach cancer
‘I can just remember him smiling, and had everyone hooting and hollering and having a lot of fun.’
‘He was an entertainer,’ he added. ‘He was the best.’
Keith’s family announced that the 62-year-old had died ‘peacefully’ on Monday night, surrounded by his family, after having battled cancer with ‘grace and courage.’
‘Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time,’ a message posted on his social media platforms read.
The singer is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucas, and their three children, daughters Shelley Covel Rowland, fellow singer Krystal Keith and son, Stelen. He also had four grandchildren. During his illustrious career, Keith sold more than 40 million records.
Brett also recalled memories of a happy Keith on the golf course: ‘I can’t remember a good or a bad shot he hit’; pictured 2019
His longtime rep, Elaine Schock, recently broke her silence on his deahth, reflecting on his remarkable career and legacy.
‘I loved Toby Keith,’ she told People in a statement. ‘He was brilliant, fun to be with and we would have some robust discussions. Plus, he could write and sing his a** off.’
She continued: ‘Toby was kind. I think he was misunderstood because he was painted a certain way but that was an incorrect portrait.’
Schock went on to rave about how the musician ‘was so much more’ than most knew and how he was ‘certainly one of the most courageous men’ she’s ever met.
‘I’m not quite sure how to maneuver in a world without Toby yet. I hate the thought of it,’ she concluded.
While his former rep did not spell out what she was alluding to about him being ‘misunderstood,’ she was most likely referencing some of his most polarizing career moves, including performing at the inauguration of Donald Trump in 2017.
Favre struck up a friendship with Toby in the mid-90s; pictured 2022
After receiving backlash for his decision to play the inauguration, he said he would never apologize for playing for the military or country.
Earlier this month, the singer opened up about his stomach cancer battle in an interview with 9News. The Should’ve Been a Cowboy singer was first diagnosed in 2021. Keith was born Toby Keith Covel in Clinton, Oklahoma, in 1961.
‘I was going through all the chemo, radiation, surgery, and I got to the point where I was comfortable with whatever happened. I had my brain wrapped around it, and I was in a good spot either way,’ Keith said.
In the interview, he mentioned that his Christian faith was helping him through his cancer battle. ‘Cancer is a roller coaster. You just sit here and wait on it to go away — it may not ever go away.’
Keith, a longtime resident of Norman, Oklahoma, also called his wife ‘the best nurse.’
‘Oh, she’s been a trooper. She’s the best nurse. The first time we went to Houston, to the hospital, she stepped right in and she just took control and said, “We got this. Let’s go.” So she’s like, “We’re going to get this and don’t worry about it,'”‘ he added.
In December 2023, he performed his final shows, a three-date stint in Las Vegas. Afterwards, he even teased that he was planning a US tour, saying he was ‘getting the trucks and buses fired up.’
Toby Keith made his final Instagram post just one day before he died from stomach cancer, suggesting to fans he wanted to resume performing.
The singer on Sunday shared video of himself addressing an excited crowd during what is believed to be one of his three sold-out shows at the Park MGM hotel in Las Vegas last December.
‘And that’s a wrap on the weekend, y’all,’ he captioned the clip. ‘Back to it.’