Toby Keith, Country Music Superstar, Dead At 62

Country music star Toby Keith has passed away at 62, a statement on his website confirmed on February 6, 2024. The news came just two years after Keith confirmed that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The statement alluded to this grueling battle, noting "He fought his fight with grace and courage," and revealed that the country star's nearest and dearest were by his side in Keith's final moments. 

In June 2022, the "Should've Been A Cowboy" singer took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to share that he had received his diagnosis about six months prior and was undergoing "chemo[therapy], radiation, and surgery." Keith added that he would be stepping away from the limelight and canceling future shows as he focused on bettering his health. When speaking to CMT Hot 20 Countdown the following December, he shared how he was dealing with the situation, acknowledging, "It's pretty debilitating to have to go through all that, but as long as everything stays hunky-dory, then we'll look at something good in the future," (via Entertainment Weekly).

In June 2023, the country singer was happy to announce that this treatment was going well because his tumor had reduced in size. Keith also couldn't wait for his health to improve so that he could go out and perform in front of a crowd again. It wasn't surprising that Keith wanted to return to music ASAP because it was his one true passion, leading him to create hits like "Beer For My Horses" and "As Good As I Once Was." More dubiously, Keith was also one of the two country stars Trump honored minutes after his impeachment. 

Toby Keith hit it big with his debut

Toby Keith was a rare country music sensation who rose to the top of Billboard's Hot Country Songs with the release of his 1993 debut single "Should Have Been A Cowboy." His eponymous first album was certified platinum while future single releases "How Do You Like Me Now?!" "Beer For My Horses," and "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" also managed to stay on top of the Billboard's Hot Country Songs for weeks. 

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the singer-songwriter released a scathing track entitled "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)" to express his anger at the state of the country as the son of an army man. Though Keith had been nominated for seven Grammy awards throughout his career, he sadly didn't win any. However, the country star earned a spot in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015. Although he burst onto the scene in his 30s, Keith had been writing songs since he was a teenager. 

In a YouTube video shared to his channel just a few days before his passing, the country singer shared that he had written his first song when he was about 15 and although he thought it was average, others lauded him for his songwriting abilities. In 1984, Keith tied the knot with Tricia Lucus and he celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary in 2023 with a throwback Instagram post. Before Lucus' paths crossed with Keith's, she had a daughter named Shelley Covel Rowland, whom he later adopted. The couple shares two other children, son Stelen and daughter Krystal Keith, with whom Toby notably shared a close relationship.