Toby Keith, Country Star and ‘Beer for My Horses’ Singer, Dies at 62

The “As Good as I Once Was” singer-songwriter was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2022

Toby Keith performs onstage during the 2021 iHeartCountry Festival Presented By Capital One at The Frank Erwin Center on October 30, 2021 in Austin, Texas (Getty Images)

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.


One response to “Toby Keith, Country Star and ‘Beer for My Horses’ Singer, Dies at 62”

  1. Toby Keith Avatar
    Toby Keith

    Country music icon Toby Keith dedicated his life to performing for fans, and just weeks before his death he played a final show for an adoring crowd. Keith’s last performance, on Dec. 14 at Dolby Live at Park MGM in Las Vegas, was a hit-filled walk through his iconic career , with renditions of signature songs like “Red Solo Cup,” “Beer for My Horses” and “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” It was the third in a sold-out string of shows at the venue. Keith took to Instagram after the concerts to write, “3 sold out shows in Vegas was a damn good way to end the year.”

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