Country Stars Remember Toby Keith With Heartfelt Tributes

“He was larger than life in so many ways and his music will live on forever!”

By

Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

February 6, 2024

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Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson; Photos Courtesy of Instagram

On Tuesday morning (Feb. 6), the country music community learned of the passing of country music great, Toby Keith. Many of his fellow artists are mourning during this time as they remember the incredible legacy he left behind. 

Keith passed away at the age of 62 years old, following a more than two-year-long battle with stomach cancer. 

Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs & More Honor Keith

Upon learning of Keith’s passing, artists such as Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Jelly Roll, Cole Swindell, Old Dominion, Jason Aldean, Morgan Wallen, Mitchell Tenpenny, Terri Clark, Clay Walker, Dustin Lynch and many more took to social media to honor the country music legend through photos, videos and heartfelt messages.

The outpouring of posts full of memories and sentiments shows just how many lives Toby Keith truly impacted throughout his impressive career. 

Some artists like Travis Denning, Justin Moore, Dan + Shay and Catie Offerman opted to honor Keith by singing covers of his songs like “My List,” “She Never Cried In Front Of Me,” and “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.”

“The Country Music World lost an icon today. Toby Keith was one of the greatest entertainers this genre ever saw. At his core, and what I loved most, was a songwriter. He could write them just as good as anyone else and respected a damn good written one. This song just rings a little more true today. RIP Toby. Thank you for the music and the memories,” Denning wrote while Offerman added, “rip 💔.”

“My admiration for Toby goes well beyond music,” wrote Moore. “His willingness to do things “his way” was a huge inspiration for me. From living in his home state, to always telling it like it is in an industry that doesn’t always welcome it, he gave me the courage (from afar) to do so myself. Every chance we had to play a show with him, I always cherished. Country music lost a Giant. Ride em’ easy Big Dog Daddy.”

Keith Was A Role Model To Many

Others took the opportunity to share memories of Keith through photos and videos that represent both the early and more recent days of his career.

Carrie Underwood posted a series of photos with Keith that shows just how long the pair of hitmakers and Oklahoma natives have been supporting each other throughout their individual careers.

She wrote, “Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ‘cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!!! 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!!! See you again someday, friend.”

Jason Aldean honored the country star through photos taken together just last October when Keith joined him on stage during a show in Oklahoma City.

“Just waking up to the news of Toby Keith’s passing. Today is a sad day for Country music and its fans,” he wrote in his caption. “Toby was a huge presence in our business and someone we all looked up to and respected. You and your music will be forever remembered big man.”

“I Can’t Believe You’re Gone”

“What an incredibly sad day for our industry. Toby paved the way for so many artists – including myself. I’ll never forget being in high school and watching him play at Walnut Creek. All I wanted to do was what he was doing up on that stage. We may have lost him, but that man will never be forgotten,” shared Priscilla Block.

“I can’t believe you’re gone. You left one hell of a mark on country music and we all owe you one,” Combs added to his Instagram story.

Tigirlily Gold wrote, “This one hurts.  😭Your legacy will live on forever. We could never get enough of your songs growing up & still feel the same way to this day! Prayers for his family.”

“RIP. A country music and American legend,” Morgan Wallen wrote via Instagram story.

The Outpouring Of Love Continues

Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Oliver Anthony; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Dylan Marlowe; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Dylan Marlowe; Photo Courtesy of Instagram
Jelly Roll; Courtesy of Instagram
Jelly Roll; Courtesy of Instagram

The News Comes Weeks After Toby Keith’s Final Performance

Toby Keith’s death was announced via his official Facebook page in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 6, just hours after his passing.  

The statement reads: “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021, however, he did not reveal his diagnosis to fans until the summer of 2022. At this point, he canceled all concerts and allowed himself time to focus on his treatments. 

Toby Keith; Photo by Greg Watermann
Toby Keith; Photo by Greg Watermann

However, within the last year, he since returned to the stage for several special occasions including the People’s Choice Country Awards last fall when he received the Country Icon Award. During the show he sang an emotional rendition of “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” live on stage. This performance went viral and prompted a second chance for the song at country radio.

His death also comes just weeks after he took the stage in Las Vegas for what became his final three concerts. 

Honors, Accolades & No. 1 Hits

With 32 No.1 singles and 40 million albums sold, Toby Keith is regarded as one of country music’s biggest hitmakers. He wrote a chart-topping hit every year for 20 consecutive years, including “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American),” “I Love This Bar,” “Beer For My Horses,” and “As Good As I Once Was.”

The Oklahoma native is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (having already been inducted into the all-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015), and was honored with the Academy of Country Music’s prestigious Merle Haggard Spirit Award.

Throughout his career, Keith received the BMI Icon Award as well as the BMI Country Songwriter of the Year award three times, and his hit single “As Good As I Once Was” was awarded BMI’s Country Song of the Year in 2006.

His music has garnered more than 10 billion streams and 100 million terrestrial radio spins to date.

Toby Keith; Photo by Greg Watermann
Toby Keith; Photo by Greg Watermann

Toby Keith Gave Back Locally, Nationally And Abroad

Keith is also known for his philanthropic efforts that have spanned locally, nationally, and abroad. His annual golf classics fund the Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home for families of children dealing with critical illnesses, and his 11 USO tours have enhanced the lives of nearly 256,000 troops and military families. 

In 2014, he was given the Spirit of the USO Award for his work with the organization, which has so far included 11 tours and more than 285 events in over 18 countries. In an even more personal instance of giving back, he became the face of his hometown after it was ravaged by a tornado, shouldering the cleanup, and headlining the 2013 OK Twister Relief Concert.

Toby is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, as well as his children, Krystal, Shelley, and Stelen.  

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.