Carrie Underwood paid an emotional tribute to county singing legend Toby Keith on Tuesday – following his tragic death from stomach cancer aged 62.
The singer died ‘peacefully’ on Monday night, aged 62, after battling the disease with ‘grace and courage’. He was ‘surrounded by his family’, a statement said.
Carrie shared poignant throwback snaps with the star and paid tribute to the ‘true blue cowboy’.
She wrote: ‘Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ‘cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!!!” Underwood, who was born in Muskogee, said in an
‘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.
Carrie Underwood paid an emotional tribute to county singing legend Toby Keith on Tuesday – following his tragic death from stomach cancer aged 62 (pictured together 2022)
Carrie shared poignant throwback snaps with the star and paid tribute to the ‘true blue cowboy’
Keith, (pictured in September last year) who was battling stomach cancer, passed peacefully on Monday surrounded by his family, according to a statement posted on his website
Keith, who was first diagnosed in 2022, has left a lasting impact on the country music industry with fans applauding his ‘great talent’ and songs that have brought ‘much joy to so many people’.
Mourners have also hailed him as a ‘true legend’ and ‘true American patriot’ who loved veterans and showed an ‘amazing support’ for US troops.
Keith, sometimes a polarizing figure in country music, was known for his overt patriotism on post 9/11 songs like Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, and boisterous barroom tunes like I Love This Bar and Red Solo Cup.
He is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucas, and their three children, daughters Shelley Covel Rowland, fellow singer Krystal Keith and son, Stelen. The singer also had four grandchildren. During his illustrious career, Keith sold over 40 million records.
Toby Keith is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucas, and their three children, daughters Shelley Covel Rowland, fellow singer Krystal Keith and son, Stelen. The singer also had four grandchildren. He is pictured with his family
Toby has left a lasting impact on the country music industry with fans applauding his ‘great talent’ and songs that have brought ‘much joy to so many people’. He is pictured performing with Black Shelton at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards in April 2018
The message posted on Toby Keith’s social media pages on February 6
Keith, a longtime resident of Norman, Oklahoma, passed peacefully on Monday surrounded by his family, according to a statement posted on the country singer’s website.
‘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 message read.
The 6-foot-4 singer broke out in the country boom years of the 1990s, crafting an identity around his macho, pro-American swagger and writing songs that fans loved to hear.
Now, in wake of his passing, country music fans are honoring his powerful booming voice, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and range that carried love songs as well as drinking songs.
‘This one hurts. His music helped me through so many points in my life and brought so much joy to so many people,’ wrote X user @flyingnapkins.
‘He was one of the last true cowboys left. Go rest high on that mountain and know you will forever live on in our hearts with your amazing music.’
The Patriot Voice, a X account, echoed: ‘RIP to a TRUE Legend, one of the BEST to ever do it, and a die-hard BAD*** Patriot who loved his country FIERCELY. You are now with Jesus, in a much, MUCH better place.’
WWE star Brooklyn Brawler, real name Steve Lombardi, posted a photo of himself with the singer, saying Keith was a ‘great talent,’ ‘great person’ and ‘will never be forgotten’.
Podcast host Joey Mannarino, who reportedly met Keith at an inauguration event for former President Donald Trump, said he was a ‘nice man’ and ‘gone way too soon’.
Absolute Radio Country, describing him as ‘legendary’, added that ‘our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time’.
Country music fans, performers and radio personalities are paying tribute to legendary musician Toby Keith after the ‘last true cowboy’ died of stomach cancer
Earlier this month, the singer opened up about his stomach cancer battle in an interview with 9News. The Should’ve Been a Cowboy singer was first diagnosed in 2021.
‘I was going through all the chemo, radiation, surgery, and I got to the point where I was comfortable with whatever happened. I had my brain wrapped around it, and I was in a good spot either way,’ Keith said.
During the 9News interview, Keith the singer called his wife ‘the best nurse.’
‘Oh, she’s been a trooper. She’s the best nurse. The first time we went to Houston, to the hospital, she stepped right in and she just took control and said, “We got this. Let’s go.” So she’s like, “We’re going to get this and don’t worry about it,”‘ he added.
The couple met first in Oklahoma nightspot in 1981 when he was 20 and she was 19. They dated for three years before marrying in 1984. At that point, Keith adopted Tricia’s daughter from a previous relationship, Shelley.
Their daughter Krystal came along in 1985 followed by son Stelen in 1997. When they married, Keith was still struggling to make it as a country music singer, he credited his wife with standing by him during those times.
‘Dozens of people told Tricia, “You need to go to tell your old man to get a real job,”‘ he once told Country Weekly.
‘It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, “He’s good enough at music that I’ve got to let him try. And it’ll be a great shot for both of us he can make it work.’
‘I absolutely love performing and writing songs, but being at home with my wife, Tricia, and my three kids is the best feeling of all,’ he continued.
In September 2023, Tricia could be seen in tears as Keith performed the song Don’t Let the Old Man In after receiving the Country Icon Award at the People’s Choice Country Awards.
As a young artist, Keith asked to be let out of his contract with Mercury Records when executives didn’t like his album, How Do You Like Me Now? because they thought women would view the title track’s lyrics as disrespectful.
But How Do You Like Me Now? went on to attain gold status, selling more than 500,000 units, and Keith went on to sell 25 million albums for his new label, Dreamworks.
He said in a June 2023 interview with The Oklahoman that he had already spent the past six months undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
He added that he would continue with the chemo and that his tumor had shrunk by a third and that his blood tests have looked good.
Keith did not speak publicly about his cancer battle until 2022.
Keith pictured with his wife, Tricia, at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2018
Keith performs onstage for the BMI Icon Award during the 2022 BMI Country Awards in Nashville in 2022
The multi-platinum-selling singer said on Twitter that he underwent surgery and received chemotherapy and radiation in the past six months.
‘So far, so good,’ said Keith, an Oklahoma native who turns 61 on July 8. ‘I need time to breathe, recover and relax.
‘I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.’
In 2006, Keith set up a foundation to help children battling cancer.
According to The Washington Post, through his music and other ventures, Keith was bringing in $50 million per year. His ventures included a stake in Big Machine Records, the Nashville-based company that signed Taylor Swift in 2005.
In addition to his music and charitable works, Keith was also known for his often outspoken political beliefs.
Following September 11th, Keith recorded the song Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, which prompted both widespread praise and intense backlash.
‘It wasn’t written for everybody. And when you write something from your heart – I had a dad that was a veteran, taught me how precious our freedom is – I was so angry when we were attacked here on American soil that it leaked out of me,’ Keith said in a 2003 interview regarding the track.
‘You know, some people wept when they heard it. Some people got goose bumps. Some people were emotionally moved. Some cheered, turned their fists in the air,’ he added.
He said in a June 2023 interview with The Oklahoman that he had already spent the past six months undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery
Among those who were critical were fellow country stars, the Dixie Chicks. Singer Natalie Maines described it as ‘ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant.’
Keith responded by having a backdrop of a photoshopped image of Maines with Saddam Hussein at his concerts. In late 2003, Keith said he was done with the feud.
The song became one of Keith’s biggest hits, topping the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and hitting number 25 on the Billboard Hot 11 chart.
Keith spoke of his admiration for Barack Obama in 2008 but ultimately said that he was more likely to vote for the Republican ticket.
In 2017, Keith performed at the Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration.
In January 2021, Keith was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Trump alongside fellow country star Ricky Skaggs.
In the program notes for the ceremony, as shared by former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Keith was handed the award for ‘making extraordinary contributions to American music.’
‘Rising from humble beginnings in the oil fields of Oklahoma, Toby Keith has become one of the preeminent songwriters of his generation,’ the program reads. ‘His musical contributions have provided the country with powerful, emotional songs that captivate and inspire the nation.’
While never having endorsed Trump, Keith did previously call the president – and his then-opponent Hilary Clinton – ‘media whores’ during an interview in September 2016.
In January 2021, Keith was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Trump alongside fellow country star Ricky Skaggs
Keith performs for US President-elect Donald Trump and his family during a welcome celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2017
‘This is by far the best country you could ever live in, and we picked these two candidates to be media whores and go out there and take care of the world, huh?’ he said during an interview at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. He went on to call the election a ‘dumpster fire.’
When quizzed earlier that August which candidate he’d be voting for in 2016, Keith said: ‘This election, I don’t think it makes a difference.
‘I can’t believe there’s 300 million Americans in this country and we’ve got these two as our final two. It’s absolutely crazy.’
Keith has previously revealed he was raised a Democrat in Oklahoma and was registered with the party until 2008, when he became an independent.
‘I was a Democrat my whole life. They kind of disowned me when I started supporting the troops, then I went and registered independent,’ he told the Chicago Tribune.
‘I’ve never been a registered Republican. It just keeps people off balance. They don’t know what to think.’