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Toby Keith, a country music star best known for his singles ‘Should’ve Been A Cowboy’ and ‘Red Solo Cup’, has died at the age of 62.
The singer had been living with stomach cancer since 2022. His death was confirmed in a statement shared on his official website.
“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on [February] 5 surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time,” it read.
Born on July 8th, 1961 in Clinton, Oklahoma, Keith learned to play the guitar at the age of eight. Throughout his early 20s, he would perform at local Honky-Tonks while working in oil fields and playing semi-pro football in Oklahoma City.
After travelling to Nashville, Tennessee in the 90s, Keith signed to Mercury Records and would go on to release his 1993 self-titled LP with its lead single ‘Should’ve Been A Cowboy’ which would become the most-played country song of the decade, as well as his popular rendition of “A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action.”
Throughout his career, he was known for his public feuds with other celebrities such as Natalie Maines from The Dixie Chicks (The Chicks) and journalists.
In 2017, Keith performed at the pre-inaugural “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in celebration of the beginning of Donald Trump‘s presidency.
It was reported that in 2021, Trump had awarded the National Medal of the Arts to both Keith and Ricky Skaggs in a a private ceremony in the Oval Office.
Keith had earned 20 Number One hits on the Billboard Charts over the span of his career. These included ‘How Do You Like Me Now?!’, ‘As Good As I Once Was’, ‘My List’ and his Willie Nelson duet ‘Beer for My Horses’. He also co-founded Big Machine Records in 2005.
The singer continued to perform throughout his cancer treatments. His most recent performance was in Las Vegas back in December. He also took the stage at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards to sing ‘Don’t Let the Old Man In’.
Speaking about his cancer diagnosis in an interview with KWTV last month, Keith said: “Cancer is a roller coaster. You just sit here and wait on it to go away. It might never go away.”
He is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, and their three children.