Country Music Icon Toby Keith Passes Away at 62

( – Country music star Toby Keith has died at age 62 after an ongoing battle with stomach cancer. He died on February 5th surrounded by his family. Keith is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucas, their son, three daughters, and four grandchildren. The singer, who was first diagnosed in 2021, spoke candidly shortly before his death about his cancer treatments and about coming to terms with dying, saying that he “was in a good spot either way”.

Keith enjoyed a music career that spanned more than twenty years, first coming to prominence with his 1993 hit “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, although he had previously earned his living in much less glamourous settings. After leaving high school, he landed a job working as a roughneck in the Oklahoma oil fields, earning $50,000 a year. He later admitted that the money was “unbelievable” to him at the time, but he quickly spent it without building up any savings. When the domestic oil field industry fell, he found himself out of work and out of money.

Keith quickly moved into football, spending two seasons as a defensive end for the Oklahoma City Drillers, putting his 6’4” frame to good use. He spent his spare time playing with his band on the Roadhouse circuit across Oklahoma and Texas and found that he could earn a steady second income doing so. Eventually, he wound up in Nashville, Tennessee, and managed to get noticed by Harold Shedd, the head of Mercury Records. Thus began his long and successful music career, with his debut eponymously titled album going platinum in 1993. “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” became a huge hit and was played 3 million times on the radio, earning it the title of the most-played country song of the decade.

Toby Keith was known for his sense of humor and patriotism, with songs that ranged from gentler love songs to rowdy drinking tunes. His family, who asked for people to respect their privacy while they grieve, said that he had fought his cancer with “grace and courage”.

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