Music fans around the world woke up to the sad news that country hitmaker Toby Keith had passed away late Monday night (Feb. 5) after a battle with stomach cancer.
At only 62 years old, Keith’s death is a tragic case of gone too soon. The country stalwart announced his cancer diagnosis in June of 2022.
Keith is one of the biggest country artists of the modern era, with more than 40 million albums sold and 32 No. 1 hits. His legacy includes that of a prolific songwriter, as the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (NaSHOF) inductee wrote 26 of his hits and 11 of those alone. Throughout his career, Keith garnered over 10 billion streams, largely on the strength of his own songwriting and producing, and under the banner of his own record label Show Dog Nashville.
Memorial tributes to Keith have flooded social media from his peers in country music. Below are some of those messages.
— Brooks & Dunn (@BrooksAndDunn) February 6, 2024
“Toby Keith was a powerhouse singer-songwriter, performer, entrepreneur, and country music icon who defined the last several decades of country music and influenced a generation of talent. Here at the Academy, we’ve been able to celebrate Toby countless times over the years, including twice as our ACM Entertainer of the Year, along with more than a dozen of other trophies, such as the ACM Poet’s Award for songwriting and the ACM Career Achievement Award. In particular, I’m so glad we were able to honor Toby with the ACM Spirit Award in 2021, presented to a singer-songwriter who continues the legacy of Merle Haggard, one of Toby’s heroes. Additionally, his phenomenal commitment to philanthropy and serving the community throughout his career echoes in the work of ACM Lifting Lives. On behalf of our staff, Board, and membership, we send our love to Toby’s family, friends, and fans of his incredible music. His legacy in country music will live on forever.” – Damon Whiteside, ACM CEO
Our self titled debuts came out on the same day, April 20, 1993… @tobykeith and I spent quite a bit of time together early in our careers…..We had a lot of good times and conversations about what we wanted out of our careers and our lives. He was a maverick. He did things his… pic.twitter.com/XZyc1pyRML
— Tim McGraw (@TheTimMcGraw) February 6, 2024
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) February 6, 2024
“Toby Keith was big, brash, and never bowed down or slowed down for anyone. His story is a distinctly American one—a former roughneck oil worker who carved out his own space in country music with a sinewy voice and an unbending will to succeed. He wrote his breakthrough songs and later formed his own record label when he felt underserved by Nashville. He relished being an outsider and doing things his way. Proudly patriotic, he didn’t mind if his clear-cut convictions ruffled your feathers. For three decades, he reflected the defiant strength of the country music audience. His memory will continue to stand tall.” – Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO
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.
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) February 6, 2024
“I was saddened to hear of Toby Keith’s passing. He really was one of the good guys. He helped a lot of people get started in the business. He loved God, he loved his family, and he was a true Patriot. He loved America. A friend to so many, including myself! Rest dear brother, you’re home at last!” – Ricky Skaggs
Just waking up to the news of Toby Keith’s passing. Today is a sad day for Country music and its fans. 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. pic.twitter.com/M2RwMUFdKx
— Jason Aldean (@Jason_Aldean) February 6, 2024
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“I vividly remember Toby Keith walking into these offices for the first time 30 years ago. I had the pleasure of signing him to BMI and worked closely with him and his team ever since. This is a tremendous loss for the songwriting community. His life and his music made a tremendous impact, and I cherished his trust and his friendship.” – Clay Bradley, VP BMI Nashville
— Alan Jackson (@OfficialJackson) February 6, 2024
“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.” – Billy Ray Cyrus
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 pic.twitter.com/d2LUR27zvx
— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) February 6, 2024
Very low this morning. @tobykeith is treasured in this family and will certainly be missed. I know he was a believer and is with the Almighty. Much love to his family. You’re in our prayers. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/MA0POxlDbO
— Lee Ann Womack (@leeannwomack) February 6, 2024
“Toby Keith has gone home. This is very sad news. We loved and respected him on every level and whispered many a prayer for him as he fought this illness. God must have needed a big-hearted Oklahoma singing boy for the great choir. Well, he got one. RIP Toby Keith.” – The Oak Ridge Boys
I’m broken hearted by the news of my friend Toby Keith’s passing. We shared many stages together & a deep love of the music business & the people in it. He was an amazing singer, songwriter, & performer. You will truly be missed my friend. I’ll see you on the other side. pic.twitter.com/S1VBfkanJQ
— Tracy Lawrence (@tracy_lawrence) February 6, 2024
Toby Keith was a true trail blazer. Authentic and heartfelt but always with a wink ‘til the end. He was larger than life in so many ways and his music will live on forever! Raising our red solos tonight—you will be missed by so many. Peace. pic.twitter.com/TJB5dUy67K
— Old Dominion (@OldDominion) February 6, 2024
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“Toby did as much good off-stage as he did on it. I got to be a part of his OK Kids Korral a few years back, and we sang a few together to benefit those kids. A good man with a huge legacy that stands as tall as him.” – John Anderson
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