Country music star Toby Keith dies after battle with stomach cancer

Singer-songwriter Toby Keith, known for No. 1 country hits like “Who’s Your Daddy?” and “Made in America,” died on Monday after a battle with stomach cancer, according to The Associated Press.

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Keith was 62.

His death was announced on his website, which said the country star passed “peacefully” surrounded by his family.

“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time,” the statement posted to Keith’s website and social media said.

The singer announced in the summer of 2022 that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and was being treated with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

“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.

Keith performed as late as December in Las Vegas, where he appeared live over three nights. Keith sang many of his 32 No. 1 hits and 42 Top 10 hits, his website reported.

He sold more than 40 million records in the United States, according to The New York Times, and his songs had more than 10 billion digital streaming plays.

His most recent album, “100% Songwriter,” was released in November.

Toby Keith Covel was born in Clinton, Oklahoma, and raised in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. He began his career in the early 1990s after working as a derrick hand in the oil fields in Oklahoma and playing defense in the USFL football league, he decided to pursue a music career. When he was 20, he and a group of friends formed the Easy Money Band.

He would eventually make his way to Nashville, where he tried, and failed, to get country record producers to hear his music and sign him to a contract. Dejected, he returned to Oklahoma.

“All through this whole thing the only constant thing we had was music,” he said. “But it’s hard to sit back and say, ‘I’m going to go make my fortune singing music, or writing music.’ I had no contacts.”

By the time he was 30, Keith signed with Mercury Records, and by 1993 his self-titled debut album was certified platinum, according to AP, and featured the hit, “I Should’ve Been A Cowboy.”

His follow-up records, “Boomtown” (1994) and “Blue Moon “(1996), included the hits “Who’s That Man” and “Me Too.” In 1997, he teamed with Sting to record “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying.” The song earned a Grammy nomination.

His 1999 album, “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” won two Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards in 2000, and his 2002 album, “Unleashed,” sold 3 million copies and included a hit duet with Willie Nelson, “Beer for My Horses,” according to Biography.

Keith was known for his outspoken patriotism and released the post-9/11 song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” which sparked controversy in some circles. He was invited to perform soon after the terror attacks on a special hosted by ABC, but was asked to soften the song’s lyrics, Keith said. He refused and did not appear on the show.

The controversy led to a feud with Natalie Maines, of the country group The Dixie Chicks.

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