Country icon Toby Keith dead at age 62 from stomach cancer
Country singer Toby Keith, known for hits such as “Red Solo Cup” and “Should Have Been a Cowboy” is dead at age 62 after a battle with stomach cancer.
Keith “passed peacefully” on Monday night, his family shared in a statement posted on social media. Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021.
“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on Feb. 5 surrounded by his family, the statement read. “He fought his fight with grace and courage.”
“Please respect the privacy of his family at this time,” the message ended.
Keith spoke about his cancer diagnosis while attending the People’s Choice Country Awards in September 2023.
The singer told E! News at the time that his cancer struggle is “a little bit of a roller coaster. You get good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down.”
“It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero but I feel good today,” he said on the red carpet.
Fellow country stars Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and more pay tribute to Toby Keith
Keith inspired many of today’s country music stars, including those who got their start on TV talent competition.
“Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ‘cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!!!” American Idol’s Carrie Underwood, a fellow Oklahoman, wrote on Instagram, sharing a gallery of photos of herself and Keith over the years. “Introduce him to all the Okies and sign that boy up for the choir!”
“We’re gonna miss you, Toby, but my heart has no doubt that you are standing in the presence of our King right now!!” she added. “See you again someday, friend.”
“You were the toughest man I ever knew”
Another Oklahoman, Blake Shelton wrote, “Even though I knew about your battle these last few months I still never imagined this day. Anyone who knew you knows what I mean. You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you brother for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.”
Luke Bryan is in Hawaii to film American Idol and he writes, “Just arriving at American Idol and seeing the sad news in our country community. An iconic artist and a great man. Your songs turn every room into a good time,” his caption read.
American Idol 2021 winner Chayce Beckham wrote on Instagram, “My thoughts and prayers are with Toby’s family, Toby was someone I have truly looked up to and was always inspired by his music, his words, his passion for patriotism. An absolute legend who will never be forgotten. We’ll miss you very much, there will never be another one like Toby Keith.”
Taylor Hicks, American Idol 5 winner, said in a press statement, ““Toby was an entertainers entertainer. Not only did he have career songs to sing, he could have an arena in the palm of his hand. TK will be missed, but not forgotten.”
Blake Shelton presented Toby Keith with the Icon Award at the Peoples Choice Country Awards
The songwriter played his first official headlining show since he revealed his cancer diagnosis at Park MGM in Las Vegas in December, 2023 — which would become one of his final performances. In a video shared to YouTube announcing the shows, he described them as “kind of rehab shows” which would “get the band back in sync, get me rolling again.”
“Through COVID and cancer, the old devil’s been after me a little bit,” Keith added. “I’ve got him by the horns right now, so instead of just sitting around and waiting, we’re gonna get the band back together.”