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Country Singer Toby Keith Dies of Cancer

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Country singer Toby Keith died Monday after receiving a stomach cancer diagnosis in 2022.

Toby Keith Photo credit: s_bukley/Depositphotos.com

Country singer Toby Keith died this week after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2022.

Photo credit: s_bukley/Depositphotos.com

Country singer Toby Keith died Monday, Feb. 5 at the age of 62, according to a statement posted to his official Facebook page. Keith had received a diagnosis of stomach cancer in 2022.

“Tony Keith passed away last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family.” read the statement, posted Tuesday, Feb. 6. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Tributes from fans and public figures quickly filled the comments section of the announcement on Instagram, with country singer Randy Houser writing “God bless you and family. Hard to imagine an America without Toby Keith in it.”

Golfer John Daly wrote, in part, “My heart is truly broken … one of my best friends gone by this disease! RIP Big Dawg…” while actor Stephen Baldwin commented “Wow this announcement has totally taken my breath away I’ve been praying for Toby and it is truly wonderful to know he is finally home praise Jesus.”

Keith released his final album, “100% Songwriter,” in November 2023. He returned to the stage for three concerts in Las Vegas the following month, during which the music streaming site Pandora honored him for receiving more than 3 billion streams of his music via the platform.

Asked about the state of his health during a January interview on “The Bobby Bones Show,” Keith stated, “It’s going pretty good. It’s a roller coaster and it takes a little while to get your brain wrapped around it. And then you get to a point where you just say 'Hey, this is what I do,' and you can’t let it define your future.”

That same month, Keith marked the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, founded by the Toby Keith Foundation and described on its official website as “a haven for the entire family as a child with cancer receives treatment.”

Keith announced his diagnosis in June of 2022. “I’ve spent the last six months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery,” the 60-year-old singer wrote on X, the site then known as Twitter. “So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.”

“You get good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down,” he told E! News in 2023. “It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero but I feel good today."

Keith, who had 39 songs chart on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts between 1993 and 2012, won male vocalist of the year and album of the year honors from the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2001.

A 2020 National Medal of Arts recipient, Keith played 11 tours for the U.S.O., according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Keith’s first post-diagnosis performance was in September 2023 at the People’s Choice Country Awards, which honored him with the Country Icon Award, according to Variety.

Keith, who had topped the Billboard charts 20 times throughout his career — with singles including “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” “As Good As I Once Was,” “My List” and the Willie Nelson duet “Beer for My Horses” — was an oil field worker and semi-professional football player prior to his time as a singer and songwriter, the Associated Press reported.

“I write about life, and I sing about life, and I don’t overanalyze things,” Keith said in a 2001 interview with The Associated Press in 2001.

Keith is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, who he had been married to since 1984, and their three children Shelley, Krystal and Stelen, Variety reported.

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