Musicians are raising their red Solo cups in honor of Toby Keith after news broke that the country star died on Monday (Feb. 5) after a battle with stomach cancer. He was 62. The singer-songwriter had revealed his battle to fans in 2022, a year after he was diagnosed.
Keith’s death was announced Tuesday (Feb. 6) in a statement posted to the country star’s official website and social media accounts. “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family,” the message read. “He fought his fight with grace and courage.”
His impact was felt among many artists, who spoke out to remember the seven-time Grammy nominee.
“Toby inspired millions and I was one of them,” Jelly Roll wrote in an Instagram story, noting that he covered Keith’s 1993 Billboard Hot 100-charting song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” at “every show last year.”
“An American icon,” singer-songwriter Randy Houser called Keith in his Instagram post, which included a video of himself singing the late artist’s 2003 hit “I Love This Bar.” “They do not make em like him everyday in my opinion. One of my favorites that he and @Scottyemerick wrote. It’s late at night or early in the morning but I wanted to sing one in his honor no matter what time it is. Rest In Peace. Job well done.”
The Country Music Hall of Fame also reflected on Keith’s career and impact on the genre. “Toby Keith was big, brash, and never bowed down or slowed down for anyone,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, in a statement. “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. 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.”
Read on for more heartfelt tributes from musicians:
“Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ‘cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!!! Introduce him to all the Okies and sign that boy up for the choir! We’re gonna miss you, Toby, but my heart has no doubt that you are standing in the presence of our King right now!!! See you again someday, friend.” — Carrie Underwood on Instagram
“RIP. A Country Music and American Legend.” — Morgan Wallen on Instagram Stories
“Just waking up to the news of Toby Keith’s passing. Today is a sad day for Country music and its fans. Toby was a huge presence in our business and someone we all looked up to and respected. You and your music will be forever remembered big man.” — Jason Aldean on X