Famed songwriter and country singer Toby Keith died on February 5, 2024, at the age of just 62 years old. His death comes following a roller coaster of a battle with stomach cancer, through which he leaned on the Lord for strength.
Many will remember Toby Keith for “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” and many other of his popular songs. Throughout his career, the country icon had over 60 singles reach the charts, 20 of which became No. 1 hits. And in 2015, Toby Keith became a member of the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
Before becoming a star in his 30s, Toby Keith put a lot of work into his music career.
"At the time, I was just trying to outwork everybody," he said during an interview when reflecting upon life before his big break.
A Family Man
Following his fame, the singer remained down-to-earth and focused on faith, family, and his country. The patriotic theme appearing often in his songs came from a deep respect for those who serve the United States. Toby Keith went and played for troops serving overseas on 11 USO tours.
Toby also dedicated time and money to charity and through the Toby Keith Foundation focused on providing no-cost housing for children with cancer and their families.
Long before Toby Keith died, the singer made sure his family took priority over his career. He knew that his life off-stage was far more important and took pride in being a family man.
“I was raised by good parents and I have great kids. They don't have any issues at all - none,” he bragged in 2010. “They all grew up with me being successful, but they are not hooked on that part of the business.”
So, when Toby Keith found out about his sickness, it’s no surprise he turned to faith and family to see him through.
Toby Keith Died A Man Of Faith
In 2022, Toby Keith revealed his stomach cancer diagnosis following months of undergoing chemo, radiation and surgery. The singer took a step back from his career so he could recover and spend time with his family.
Later that same year, Toby opened up about his “debilitating” sickness but remained optimistic about returning to music in the future.
WATCH: Toby Keith Cancer Update From 2022
- CMT Hot 20 Countdown (@cmtHot20) November 19, 2022
And later, Toby spoke more about his cancer battle, describing it as “a lot of dark hallways” and a roller coaster. However, the country singer relied on his faith to see him through.
"You have to have your faith. You take it [faith] for granted on the days that things are good, and you lean on it when days are bad," he explained. "It has taught me to lean on a little more every day."
Through the ups and downs of his battle, Toby eventually experienced a “peace that defied all understanding.” And it was at that time he came to accept that his time on earth may be coming to an end.
“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,” he said.
Before Toby Keith died, he did eventually return to the stage. He received a People's Choice Icon Award in 2023, where he performed his song "Don't Let The Old Man In." And later in December of 2023, he played some headlining shows at Park MGM in Las Vegas.
But on February 5, 2024, the singer found his healing in Heaven.
Toby Keith left behind his wife of 40 years, Tricia, his three children and four grandchildren. And though it is certainly heartbreaking news, we hope that because of Toby’s faith in the Almighty, his family can grieve with hope.
WATCH: Toby Keith Discussed Faith And His Sickness Just Before He Died
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h/t: New York Times
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Toby Keith