Country music star Toby Keith has died, his social media sites and website announced early Tuesday. He was 62.
The outlets said he “passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
Keith announced in June 2022 that he’d been undergoing treatment for stomach cancer since the previous fall.
The multi-platinum-selling singer tweeted at the time that he’d had surgery and chemotherapy and radiation in the prior six months.
“So far, so good,” the Oklahoma native said. “I need time to breathe, recover and relax.
“I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
Over a more than 30-year career, he released hits including Who’s Your Daddy and Made in America. He is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, and three children.
Keith said he had been receiving chemotherapy, radiation and surgery for his cancer. He said he was “comfortable with whatever happened” with his illness.
An Oklahoma native, he worked in oil fields and as a semi-pro American Football player before breaking out as a musician in the 1990s.
His debut single Should’ve Been a Cowboy, released in 1993, became a number one hit. The song romanticises the cowboy lifestyle with reference to singing cowboys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
Later albums included Blue Moon, Pull My Chain and Unleashed.
Keith’s songs frequently made reference to patriotic themes, most controversially with the song Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American), released shortly after the 9/11 attacks, which was criticised for what some perceived as chauvinistic lyrics.
The song was criticised by fellow country artists the Dixie Chicks. The feud lasted several months before Keith announced there were “far more important things” to focus on.
Over the years, he played at events for several US presidents, including George W Bush. Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Mr Trump awarded Keith a National Medal of the Arts in 2021.