The “Red Solo Cup” performer, who’d been battling stomach cancer, was surrounded by family when he died Monday night, according to a brief statement shared by his loved ones on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“He fought his fight with grace and courage,” the statement said. “Please respect the privacy of his family at this time,”
Keith, who continued to perform despite his health struggles, previously revealed he’d been diagnosed with cancer in 2022. In September, he touched on just how much of a “rollercoaster” going through treatment and chemotherapy had been for him.
“You get good days and, you know, you’re up and down, up and down. It’s always zero to 60 and 60 to zero but I feel good today,” Keith told E! News ahead of receiving the Country Icon Award at the People’s Choice Country Awards.
His most recent album, “100% Songwriter,” was released in November. A month later, the country crooner took to the stage at Park MGM in Las Vegas to perform his first headlining show since revealing his cancer diagnosis.
“It’ll be my first two shows. They’re kind of rehab shows — get the band back in sync, get me rolling again,” he announced in YouTube video ahead of the December performances.
“First time in my whole life I’ve been off over two years. I’ve never been off a year in my life,” he added. “Through COVID and cancer, the old devil’s been after me a little bit,” Keith continued. “I’ve got him by the horns right now, so instead of just sitting around and waiting, we’re gonna get the band back together.”
Born in Clinton, Okla., and raised in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, Keith worked as a roughneck in the oil fields, then played as a semi-professional football player before kicking off his music career. [cq comment=”
He eventually landed in Nashville, where he caught the eye of Mercury Records head Harold Shedd, who was best known at the time as a producer for the hit group Alabama. Keith exploded onto the country music scene with Mercury, releasing his platinum debut record “Toby Keith,” in 1993. The self-titled album included the wildly popular “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” which was aired more than 3 million times across radio stations, making it the most played country song of the 1990s.
Keith also had a passion for politics and his home country, the United States of America, something that was apparent in many of his songs, including “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” He released the tune in 2002, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, singing lyrics like “You’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A” and “We’ll put a boot in your a–/ It’s the American way.”
He’s additionally played at events for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the latter of whom awarded him a National Medal of the Arts in 2021.
With News Wire Services