OKLAHOMA—On Monday, February 5, country music legend Toby Keith passed away following a battle with stomach cancer. The family left a message on social media to notify fans of his passing. He was 62.
“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
His full name was Toby Keith Covel, and he was born in Clinton, Oklahoma to Hubert K. and Carolyn Joan Covel. His family moved to Moore, Oklahoma where Keith attended school and made his start in the world.
Reports indicate that while he was attending Moore High School, he played football and worked as a rodeo hand. After high school, he and his father worked in the oil fields together. Keith also played some semi-professional football in Oklahoma.
Keith and a few others started a local band called The Easy Money Band. They played at bars, night clubs, and roadhouses when he wasn’t working on the oil rigs.
In 1993, Keith’s first single, which he created, “I Should Have Been a Cowboy,” hit the number one spot on the Country Music Billboard charts.
Keith went on to release 42 billboard hits including, “How Do You Like Me Now,” “Who’s Your Daddy,” and “American Soldier.” In 2001, following the loss of his father in a tragic automobile accident, and the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center, Keith released, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.”
“Made in America” is one of those chart toppers and a fan favorite party song sung by country boys everywhere, “Red Solo Cup.” Billboard reported it as Keith’s highest charting song reaching number 15 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.
In 2001, Toby Keith was named the Country Music Association’s male vocalist of the year. He was a recipient of the American Country Music (ACM’s) Merle Haggard Spirit Award.
Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and named BMI Icon of 2022.
Keith performed in 15 countries while doing USO charity tours for service members between 2002 and 2013. He founded the Toby Keith Foundation and Ally’s House to give much-needed aid to children suffering from cancer. He and his family also supported the Kids Korral, which provides a rent-free home for families of children battling illnesses.
Keith was diagnosed with cancer in 2021. He announced his diagnosis in 2022. He leaves behind his mother, sister, Tonnie, brother Tracy, his wife, Tricia who he has been married to for 40 years, and their daughters, Shelly, Krystal, and son, Stelan.