Blake Shelton Paid Heartfelt Homage To Toby Keith In Wake Of His Passing From Stomach Cancer At Age 62

Feb 08, 2024 by apost team

On Feb. 5, 2024, the country music world was thrown into mourning after one of its all-time greats, Toby Keith, passed away after a years-long tough battle against cancer. Grief poured out from across the industry and all walks of life, a testament to the profound impact the legendary singer and songwriter had on loved ones, those around him and anyone who had ever been touched by his words and music across his lengthy career. Among those who paid homage to Keith was fellow country music superstar and television personality Blake Shelton, whose heartfelt message resonated with so many feeling the loss of one of America’s greatest performers.

Keith’s illustrious career took off with the release of his self-titled debut album in 1993. This album featured his breakout single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” which quickly rose to the top of the country charts and became one of the most-played country songs of the 1990s. His music blends elements of country rock, honky-tonk, and mainstream country, contributing to his broad appeal.

Over the years, Keith has released several successful albums and hit singles, earning numerous awards and nominations. Some of his most famous songs include “How Do You Like Me Now?!”, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” “Beer for My Horses” and “I Love This Bar.” His patriotic songs, especially post-9/11, resonated with a large audience, bolstering his popularity.

Keith is also known for his strong support of U.S. military personnel, frequently performing for troops overseas and participating in USO tours. Beyond music, he has ventured into acting, appearing in films and television shows, and business, launching his own record label, Show Dog Nashville, and a chain of restaurants named I Love This Bar & Grill.

Toby Keith (2023), (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Toby Keith publicly disclosed in June 2022 that he had been battling stomach cancer since the Fall of 2021. He revealed that he had been undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to treat the cancer. Despite the diagnosis and treatment, Keith remained optimistic about his recovery and expressed his intention to continue making music and performing, health permitting. Despite the challenging circumstances, Keith shared a positive update in June 2023, stating that his cancer was showing a “real positive trend” due to the shrinkage of his tumor, and he expressed hope to return to performing soon.

“My goal is, I feel better; I've got more wind. And I'm thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours. And if I do, (I'll) be out on the road this fall,” he told The Oklahoman. 

Keith would pursue that dream up till the end of 2023, playing a string of sold-out shows in Las Vegas, which would come to be his last. Then, on the night of Feb. 5, 2024, the star passed away peacefully in Oklahoma, which he had called home all his life.

His battle with the disease was marked by grace and courage, and his family requested privacy during this difficult time​​. He left behind his wife of 39 years, Tricia Lucus, and their three children. A statement released on Keith’s website by his family upon his passing read:

“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on Feb. 5, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Blake Shelton (2015), (Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Immense grief and sorrow followed Keith’s passing, which was befitting of a legend who had entertained and inspired so many across his storied career. Among those who paid tribute to Keith was country music icon Dolly Parton, who took to Instagram to write:

“It’s always hard when we lose our brothers and sisters in country music. Toby Keith was one of the greats in every way. He will be missed but his music and legacy will live on.”

Alan Jackson posted a photo of him with Keith as he offered his prayers to the late singer’s family, while Tim McGraw wrote a lengthy, heartfelt message detailing the similar paths he and Keith’s careers had taken. 

“Our self titled debuts came out on the same day, April 20, 1993… Toby and I spent quite a bit of time together early in our careers.....We had a lot of good times and conversations about what we wanted out of our careers and our lives. He was a maverick. He did things his way, on his terms, a true artist,” McGraw wrote of Keith, adding he would “always have and always will have tremendous respect for his artistry, dedication and fearlessness to do his thing.”

Carrie Underwood also paid homage to Keith, as she wrote: “Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ‘cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!!!”

Among the most heartfelt messages was from Blake Shelton, who wrote:

“Even though I knew about your battle these last few months I still never imagined this day. Anyone who knew you knows what I mean. You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you brother for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.”

Our hearts and prayers go out to Toby Keith’s loved ones and all those affected by his loss. How has Keith’s music inspired you in your life? Let us know, then pass this on to family and friends who are sure to cherish his memory for a long time, too.

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