Horribly news this week out of the entertainment industry:
Toby Keith, a veteran country music superstar best known for such hit tracks as “Red Solo Cup” and “Should Have Been a Cowboy” has passed away.
He was 62 years old.
The musician’s official website confirmed this tragedy on Monday night, releasing the following statement on its home page:
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.
Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021 and it is believed he died as a result of this illness.
The multi-platinum-selling singer Tweeted in June 2022 that he had undergone surgery and chemotherapy and radiation over the prior six months.
“So far, so good,” the Oklahoma native said. “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.”
Keith was one of the most successful singers of his generation.
Throughout his three-decade-plus career, the artist released 24 studio and compilation albums, along with two Christmas records… generating $40 million in global sales.
Keith also produced 61 tracks that appeared on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, with 20 of them hitting number-one and 22 others landing in the top 10.
Last September, Keith took home the Country Music Icon Award at the People’s Choice Country Awards.
After accepting the statue, he gave a speech that brought some levity to his cancer diagnosis and alarming weight loss, telling the audience:
“Bet you thought you’d never see me in skinny jeans.”
Keith was joined at this same event in September 2023 by his wife of nearly 40 years, Tricia Lucus.
He spoke to E! News on the red carpet about the cancer diagnosis, telling this outlet a few months ago:
“You get good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down… It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero but I feel good today.”
Keith — whose career really took off after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 due to his subsequent patriotic-themed singles — played at events for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the latter of whom presented Keith with a National Medal of the Arts in 2021.
Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015 and honored by the performance rights organization BMI in November 2022 with the BMI Icon award, a few months after announcing his stomach cancer diagnosis.
“I always felt like that the songwriting was the most important part of this whole industry,” Keith told the crowd of fellow singers and writers back then.
We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Toby Keith.
May he rest in peace.