Chart-topping American country music singer Toby Keith, one of the most recognizable performers in the genre, died on Monday aged 62, his family has announced in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
While the statement on Tuesday did not specify the cause of death, merely saying the singer had “passed peacefully” while surrounded by his family, Keith had informed the public of his stomach cancer diagnosis in 2022, revealing he had initially been diagnosed in the fall of 2021.
He received radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery for the illness during the first six months of treatment, acknowledging that living with the condition could be “debilitating.” Last year, he told local outlet The Oklahoman that his tumor had shrunk by a third and expressed optimism about his prognosis.
Keith continued to perform and record following his diagnosis, most recently releasing the album ‘100% Songwriter’ in November and performing three sold-out shows in Las Vegas in December.
The country music icon sold between 25 and 30 million records in the US, debuting with his first hit single ‘Should’ve Been a Cowboy’ in 1993. The song reached number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
His controversial hit ‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (the Angry American)’, released in the months following the September 11 terror attacks, promised Washington’s enemies that the nation would “put a boot in your ass/it’s the American way,” making him a household name far outside country music circles.
Keith is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, and three adult children. His daughter Krystal Keith is also a singer-songwriter.