Toby Keith, Renowned Country Music Star, Passes On

( – Country music fans across the country are mourning the loss of an industry legend after the death of Toby Keith, 62, was announced on February 6. The patriotic and playful singer was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2022. A statement on Keith’s social media and website said that his family was by his side when he died and that he had “fought his fight with grace and courage.” During a late January interview, Keith discussed how he had leaned on his faith in God over the last few years to come to terms with his cancer. Keith’s towering height of 6-foot-4 was matched with a booming voice that could capture the attention of anyone. He wrote and sang many hit songs, including love songs, funny songs, and plenty of songs about drinking.

One of his greatest hits was “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” which was released in May 2002 following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Keith played for deployed troops during 11 USO tours and performed at events for former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. He was awarded the National Medal of the Arts by Trump in 2021, just days before he departed from office. Keith’s last performance was on September 28, 2023, at the People’s Choice Country Awards. He sang his 2018 hit “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” which he wrote for his friend and actor Clint Eastwood, bringing tears to the eyes of attendees and viewers.

Keith was known for pushing back against those in the industry who tried to change his style. He switched record labels after years of resisting efforts to push him toward pop music. During a 2001 interview with the Associated Press, Keith said, “I write about life, and I sing about life, and I don’t overanalyze things.” Keith won many awards during his career, including Entertainer of the Year at the ACM Awards in 2003 and 2004. He started his own record label called Show Dog in 2005 after his current label was bought out by another. Some of his other most popular songs include “Red Solo Cup,” “As Good As I Once Was,” and “Whiskey Girl.”

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