Toby Keith, the country music singer-songwriter known for hits like “Beer for My Horses” and “As Good as I Once Was,” died Monday night of stomach cancer. The news was announced on his official website with a statement that reads, “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.”
Born in Oklahoma, Keith broke through in 1993 with the single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” from his debut album, released that same year. He continued to be a hitmaker for country throughout the 1990s, but broke through to Top 40 with his 1999 song “How Do You Like Me Now?”
In 2002, Keith further entered the mainstream with the divisive “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American),” a patriotic song written in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.
The song also led to a feud with the then-Dixie Chicks, as singer Natalie Maines called it “ignorant” and said the song “makes country music sound ignorant.” In response, Keith not only slammed Maines but portrayed a giant photo of her at his concerts that photoshopped her alongside Saddam Hussein.
Keith also dipped his toe into acting, starring in the 2005 film “Broken Bridges” and writing and starring in the 2008 film “Beer for My Horses,” based on his hit single of the same name.
The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021, and revealed the diagnosis in 2022. Keith performed for the first time since his diagnosis at the People’s Choice Country Awards in September 2023.
A prolific artist, Keith released 19 studio albums, two Christmas albums and five compilation albums over the course of his career.
Keith is survived by his wife Tricia Lucus and their three children Shelley, Krystal and Stelen.
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