Reba McEntire and Toby Keith had more in common than their country music icon status. After Toby’s death on Monday, February 5, at the age of 62, Reba revealed that they’re both from Oklahoma. “Toby and I are both from Oklahoma and very proud of our Oklahoma heritage,” the singer, 68, told KOCO 5 on Tuesday.
“Toby worked very hard to make a mark in the country music business, and he did a great job doing that,” she continued. “Very proud of him, and I hope he rests in peace. I was very honored to get to work with Toby and be a part of the era of country music he was in. We’ll sure miss him.”
Reba also looked back on her time touring with Toby in a separate interview on Tuesday. “He was a great writer, a great singer,” she told PEOPLE. “When Toby came on the radio, you knew who that was. Toby Keith was a distinctive vocalist, a stylist, that you knew exactly who he was. So, that’s a wonderful trait to have.”
She fondly recalled their mid-1990s shows together, as well. “That was a lot of fun,” she told the outlet. “Toby was more of the renegade, the outlaw type, and I’m the Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes, and so it was kind of like two ends of the spectrum.”
Toby’s official social media accounts announced his death from stomach cancer on February 6 with a heartbreaking message. “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family,” the tweet read. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.” While Toby had been initially diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021, he waited until June of 2022 to publicly share the devastating news in a statement.
Reba wasn’t the only household name to mourn Toby’s death in the hours following the news. Celebrities including Carrie Underwood, Zach Bryan, Dolly Parton, Jelly Roll, and even First Lady Dr. Jill Biden offered their condolences with public statements, as well.