Country music icon Toby Keith passed away on Monday, February 5, just 18 months after he revealed he had stomach cancer. He was 62.
“Toby Keith passed away peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family,” a statement reads. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
Keith revealed in June 2022 that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer.
The musician was born Toby Keith Covel on July 8, 1961, in Oklahoma and raised on a farm outside of Oklahoma City, according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Before pursuing music professionally, Keith worked as a rodeo hand in high school and oil fields after he graduated, all the while performing in bars at night.
Keith emerged as a country artist in the early 1990s and went on to become an icon of the genre. He sold between 25 million and 30 million records in the United States, and his songs had more than 10 billion digital streaming plays. His most recent album, 100% Songwriter, was released in November.
“His story is a distinctly American one – a former roughneck oil worker who carved out his own space in country music with a sinewy voice and an unbending will to succeed. He wrote his breakthrough songs and later formed his own record label when he felt underserved by Nashville,” a statement from The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum read.
It adds, “He relished being an outsider and doing things his way. Proudly patriotic, he didn’t mind if his clear-cut convictions ruffled your feathers. For three decades, he reflected the defiant strength of the country music audience. His memory will continue to stand tall.”
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