Toby Keith’s family announced that the singer died on February 5th.
He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021.
The family said the country icon “passed peacefully.”
Country music star Toby Keith has passed away. His family announced that the singer died on February 5, a little over two years after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was 62.
In a statement posted to Instagram, his family explained that he “passed peacefully” and was “surrounded by his family.” “He fought his fight with grace and courage,” the statement continued. “Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
Keith revealed his cancer diagnosis to fans in June 2022, explaining that he received it in the fall of 2021. “I’ve spent the last six months receiving chemo, radiation, and surgery,” he wrote on Instagram. “So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover, and relax... But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
As his cancer journey continued, the “Red Solo Cup” singer canceled 2022 tour dates but made an appearance at a steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky where he performed for guests, and in September 2023, he performed at the People’s Choice Country Awards, where he also received the Country Icon Award. He ended the year with three sold-out shows at Park MGM in Las Vegas, his first official headlining shows since his diagnosis.
Per the American Cancer Society, stomach cancer more commonly affects men, and the average age of those diagnosed is 65. About six in 10 people 65 and older are diagnosed with the type of cancer annually, per the society, but overall, cases have been on a decline over the last 10 years.
Though at this time it is unclear what type of stomach cancer the singer had, the most common form is adenocarcinomas, an overgrowth of cells often treated with targeted drug therapy. Less common types are gastrointestinal stromal tumors, neuroendocrine tumors, and lymphomas, which may require more vigorous treatment.
At the People’s Choice Country Awards in September 2023, Keith candidly spoke to E! News about the highs and lows of his condition, calling it a “little bit of a roller coaster,” adding: “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.”
In announcing his Vegas shows, Keith expressed excitement for returning to the stage. “Hey everybody! This is Toby Keith. It’s been a while,” he began in a YouTube video. “You know what I’ve been doing—been on the old rollercoaster, but Almighty’s riding shotgun. He’s letting me drive for some reason, but we’re making a big announcement.” He continued, sharing the show dates. “They’re kind of rehab shows—get the band back in sync, get me rolling again,” he said. “Through COVID and cancer, the old devil’s been after me a little bit. 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.”
And back together, they were—for one last time. Our thoughts are with Keith’s family and friends as they move through this difficult time.
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