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Toby Keith died before learning he’ll be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

Katherine Bomboy/NBC/Getty Images

Toby Keith will receive a posthumous honor.

The late country music star, who died in February at age 62 from complications of stomach cancer, will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“Election to the Country Music Hall of Fame is country music’s highest honor, and new members are elected annually by an anonymous panel of industry leaders chosen by the Country Music Association (CMA),” according to a press release about the announcement.

Singer John Anderson and guitarist James Burton will also be inducted.

Rolling Stone reported that Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, announced the new inductees during a press conference held in the Hall of Fame’s Rotunda Monday morning. She shared the nomination process and the fact that Keith passed away before he could receive the happy news.

“My heart sank that Tuesday afternoon, knowing that we had missed the chance to inform Toby while he was still with us, but I have no doubt that he is smiling down on us, knowing that he will always be ‘as good as he once was,’” Trahern reportedly said, referencing Keith’s song, “As Good As I Once Was.”

Keith is already a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The legendary country singer went public with his stomach cancer diagnosis in 2022, which he had been dealing with since October 2021.

“I’ve spent the last six months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax,” he said in a statement at the time. “I am looking forward to spending time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later.”

The disease didn’t stop him from performing, which he did playing shows in Las Vegas almost until he lost his battle with cancer.

The new members-elect will be inducted during this year’s Country Music Hall of Fame Medallion Ceremony on October 20.

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