Tributes Pour in From Country Music’s Biggest Stars on the Passing of Toby Keith

LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 07: Musician Toby Keith performs onstage during ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute To The Troops at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kevin Winter/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM

Country music icon Toby Keith passed away at the age of 62 after a battle with stomach cancer. His website read, “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage.” As the news broke, the biggest country music superstars have paid tribute and shared their own emotional statements.

First up, Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said, “Toby Keith was big, brash, and never bowed down or slowed down for anyone. 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.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Toby Keith (@tobykeith)

“Toby Keith has gone home. This is very sad news. We loved and respected him on every level and whispered many a prayer for him as he fought this illness. God must have needed a big-hearted Oklahoma singing boy for the great choir. Well, he got one. RIP Toby Keith.” – The Oak Ridge Boys


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood)

“I admire the way Toby battled this awful illness. He released new music, and he was on stage at the end. There is nothing coming along to replace people like him.” – Don McLean

Toby Keith performs onstage during the 2021 iHeartCountry Festival Presented By Capital One at The Frank Erwin Center on October 30, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Editorial Use Only

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

“Toby Keith did things his way – amazing artist, songwriter, patriot, and man of faith. I admired him and how he rolled. He and I shared a deep love for our military, and I’m proud that he took his music to dangerous places in order to give the American spirit to those protecting freedom. I was pleased he called me the OG and was honored to work with him a few times through the years. Please join our family in praying for the Keith family. I am confident that Toby was met at the pearly gates by patriots who have gone before and is resting in the arms of Jesus.” – Lee Greenwood

“It’s heartbreaking to lose Toby Keith. I’ve always been a big fan of Toby and his music, and I’ll always treasure singing with him. Toby was a great American.” – Crystal Gayle

Host Toby Keith performs onstage at the 2012 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 6, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

“The story that will forever define Toby Keith for me is very personal. My son Torre was serving his first tour in Iraq – stationed in a remote area on the outskirts of Samarra in a very volatile area. Toby came to Iraq to entertain our troops. However, after several shows, Toby said he wanted to entertain those men who were isolated. Toby was told of a small group of men in “No Man’s Land” but was strongly advised not to go there. It was too dangerous. Toby insisted. He didn’t want to endanger the lives of other musicians and entertainers, so he went alone. But for a few hours, Toby and his guitar brought a piece of America to a handful of Americans who needed a reminder that they were not forgotten. I will always love Toby Keith for the morale boost he gave my son when he needed it most. I will always remember him as a man of character.” – Tim Atwood

Kings Of Country
Want More?

Kings Of Country

March 2022

From outlaws Willie & Waylon to the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, we have every tear in your beer covered

Buy This Issue
More Of This: