Country music legend Toby Keith has passed away at the age of 62 after battling stomach cancer since his diagnosis in late 2021. Just days ago he had performed live to a cheering crowd, saying he would soon be “back to it.”
“Toby Keith passed away peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family,” said a statement posted to Keith’s social media.
“He fought his fight with grace and courage,” it said of his cancer battle, concluding with a request to respect his family’s privacy.
Keith is best known for patriotic songs such as Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue, which was written in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks and contains such uncompromising lyrics as “We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.” He went on 11 USO tours to perform for U.S. troops serving overseas.
His repertoire earned sneers from some leftist singers, who claimed he “pander[ed] to people’s worst instincts at a time they are hurt and scared,” but he vowed he would never let the music industry “mold me into something I was not.”
He performed at Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2021 and refused to apologize for doing so.
Waking up to Toby Keith dead is one of the worst days ever.
I met him at the Trump Hotel in DC once. I told him one of my favorite lyrics was “There was a time you told me you’d love me forever, but baby didn’t forever get here fast?” from Just Another Sundown.
He was very…
— Raheem. (@RaheemKassam) February 6, 2024