Country Music Icon, Toby Keith, Dead At 62
via Live Music Videos / YouTube
Toby Keith, the celebrated country music star recognized for his bold patriotism, has died at the age of 62 after battling stomach cancer since 2022.
According to a statement released on his website
Keith passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones. “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,” the statement conveyed.
Born in Oklahoma, the towering 6-foot-4 singer led a colorful life before making his mark in the music industry. Initially, he worked as a roughneck in the oil fields before transitioning to semi-professional American football. Ultimately, his journey led him to Nashville, Tennessee, where he signed a record deal with Mercury Records in the early 1990s.
In 1993, Keith released his debut album titled “Toby Keith,” featuring the breakout single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” which soared to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Country songs chart after garnering over 3 million plays on country radio.
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Known for his outspoken political views
Keith stirred controversy with his song “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” following the September 11th attacks. The song, which included lyrics like “You’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.,” drew both praise and criticism for its fervent patriotism.
In response to criticism from Natalie Maines of The Chicks regarding the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Keith controversially used a photoshopped image of Maines next to Saddam Hussein as a backdrop during his concerts.
Fellow artist Steve Earle criticized Keith’s song, describing it as “pandering to people’s worst instincts at a time they are hurt and scared.” Despite the controversy, Keith remained unapologetic about his stance.
Beyond music, Keith demonstrated his patriotism by embarking on 11 USO tours, where he performed for American service members stationed overseas. Additionally, he dedicated himself to philanthropic endeavors, raising millions for various charities in Oklahoma, particularly those supporting children and families affected by cancer.
In recognition of his contributions to the music industry, Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015, solidifying his legacy as a pioneering figure in country music.
Toby Keith’s passing marks the end of an era for country music, leaving behind a legacy of impassioned patriotism and musical excellence that will be cherished by fans for generations to come.