The world of country music was stunned Tuesday by the passing of legendary musician Toby Keith. Though it was well documented that Keith was battling stomach cancer, he had reportedly been doing very well and had even performed two sold-out shows in Vegas near the end of 2023. The “Beer for My Horses” singer had even talked of resuming touring in 2024.
Keith passed Monday night at his home, surrounded by his family, and when the news broke Tuesday morning, legions of sad, stunned fans took to social media to pay their respects and share their stories. The singer’s family posted to his website and social media pages,“He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.” The Oklahoma-born artist sold more than 40 million albums during his more than three-decade-long career and scored a stunning 20 number-one singles.
Many of Keith’s songs have become staples up and down Lower Broadway in Nashville, with everything from old honky tonks to flashy new establishments regularly playing songs like “Red Solo Cup” and “As Good as I Once Was.” His music will live on, and scores of fans and artists have been paying tribute on social media.
Keith was an outspoken supporter of American armed forces and did 11 USO tours, entertaining American soldiers overseas. He was also a philanthropist, raising millions and building a home in Oklahoma City for parents and their kids who are battling cancer.
Friend and fellow superstar Blake Shelton wrote on social media: “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.”
Country legend Billy Ray Cyrus shared: “Stood me still with emotion and memories to see and hear of the loss of my friend… the legend… Toby Keith. Heart breaking with thoughts and prayers for his fans and family this morning. We toured together several times around the globe. He was always the kindest… sweetest gentle giant of an outlaw one could ever hope to entertain and make music with. Raising a Red Cup this morning and saying a prayer. Heavens a honkytonk tonight.”
Jason Aldean, fresh off the controversy from the left over his song “Try That in a Small Town,” stated that one of the highlights of his life was playing with Toby Keith. Aldean said: “Honestly, when we were out playing Oklahoma City… Toby Keith came out and joined us on stage… just gone through all the stuff he’s been gone through the last couple of year… for him to come out on stage and… that’s a hometown crowd for him. It was just one of those kind of electric nights, really. It was just a really cool moment.”
Country music lost a fighter and a true Patriot in Toby Keith. His music will continue to be played on the radio and in dusty honky tonk bars forever, and his legacy will continue to be felt in the country music industry. Watch Keith tell his fans to never apologize for being patriotic here:
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