The singer-songwriter, who achieved four No. 1 albums on the US charts, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021.
Chart-Topping American Country Singer Toby Keith Passes Dies at 62
Country singer Toby Keith, who reached the pinnacle of the US album chart four times, passed away at the age of 62. According to a statement on his website, he died on Monday while surrounded by family, with the post noting, "He fought his fight with grace and courage."
Keith had been battling stomach cancer, a diagnosis he disclosed in June 2022 after six months of treatment.
Toby Keith, born as Toby Keith Covel in 1961 in Oklahoma, experienced a classic American, blue-collar childhood, which deeply shaped his highly prosperous songwriting endeavors. Alongside his lifelong passion for playing the guitar, he displayed talent as an American football player, eventually joining the semi-professional Oklahoma City Drillers. Moreover, he gained hands-on experience as a derrick hand in the oilfields.
From the mid-1980s, Keith performed in a honky-tonk band and started crafting his own solo music. His big break came when a demo tape, carried by a flight attendant fan, landed in the hands of a Mercury Records executive who promptly signed him. His debut single, "Should've Been a Cowboy," which he penned himself, soared to No. 1 on the US country charts in 1993, marking the first of his impressive 20 chart-topping hits throughout his career.
Expanding his already sizable conservative fanbase, Keith made waves with "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," a song penned in response to the September 11 attacks in 2001. The track boldly addressed America's adversaries and celebrated the ensuing conflict with lyrics like, “Man, we lit up your world like the Fourth of July... you’ll be sorry that you messed with the US of A / ’Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.” However, it sparked controversy and a feud with fellow country artists, the Chicks (then Dixie Chicks), with lead singer Natalie Maines criticizing it as making country music seem "ignorant."
During his most commercially triumphant era, Toby Keith experienced a remarkable streak of 10 consecutive country No. 1 hits between 2000 and 2004. Despite this peak, he remained a constant presence on country radio throughout his career, culminating in the release of his latest album, "Peso in My Pocket," in 2021.
In addition to his music career, Keith demonstrated his support for the US military through numerous visits to the Middle East to perform for American troops. Politically, he identified as a "conservative Democrat" and offered his backing to presidential candidates across the spectrum, including George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
In September, Keith provided an update on his cancer treatment, describing it as a "rollercoaster" with good days and fluctuations in health. Despite the challenges, he expressed feeling good on that particular day.
He is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, and their three children.