Horrible news this week in the entertainment industry:
Toby Keith, a veteran country music superstar best known for hit songs like “Red Solo Cup” and “Should Have Been a Cowboy,” has died.
He was 62 years old.
The musician’s official website confirmed this tragedy on Monday night, publishing the following statement on its home page:
Toby Keith passed away peacefully last night, February 5, 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 is believed to have died as a result of the disease.
The multi-platinum singer tweeted in June 2022 that he had undergone surgery, chemotherapy and radiation over the previous six months.
“So far, so good,” the Oklahoma native said. “I need time to breathe, recover and relax.
“I really want to spend this time with my family. But I’ll see the fans sooner rather than later. I can not wait”.
Keith was one of the most successful singers of his generation.
Throughout his more than three-decade career, the artist released 24 studio and compilation albums, along with two Christmas albums… generating $40 million in global sales.
Keith also produced 61 songs that appeared on Billboard Hot Country Songs, 20 of which reached number one and another 22 reached 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:
“I 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 with E! News on the red carpet about the cancer diagnosis, she told this medium a few months ago:
“You have good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down… It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero, but today I feel good.”
Keith, whose career really took off after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks due to his subsequent patriotic-themed singles, played events for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the latter of which gave him Keith a National Award. Medal of Arts in 2021.
Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015 and honored by performing rights organization BMI in November 2022 with the BMI Icon Award, a few months after announcing his stomach cancer diagnosis.
“I always felt like writing songs was the most important part of this whole industry,” Keith told the crowd of singers and writers back then.
We send our condolences to Toby Keith’s friends, family and loved ones.
May he rest in peace.