US country singer Toby Keith dies at the age of 62

US country singer Toby Keith dies at the age of 62
Toby Keith was considered one of the greatest country musicians of the past three decades.

He died peacefully on Monday (local time) surrounded by his family, according to a message on his website and verified social networks. The Oklahoma-born singer and songwriter was 62 years old.

Suffered from stomach cancer

Keith made it public in 2022 that he had stomach cancer and was being treated with chemotherapy and radiation after surgery. He fought the battle against cancer with grace and courage, the statement continued.

His hits include songs like “How Do You Like Me Now?!”, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, “Who’s Your Daddy?”, “Made in America” ​​and “Beer for My Horses”, a duet with Country star Willie Nelson. He also appeared in the film of the same name. His first album was released in 1993. In total, he made it to the top of the Billboard country charts 20 times and sold around 40 million records worldwide, according to media reports.

The New York Times called him one of the greatest country musicians of the past three decades. In 2015, Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame – alongside the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Missy Elliott. In December he gave a few concerts in Las Vegas. In September 2023, according to CNN, he appeared at the People’s Choice Country Awards and was awarded an award.

Love and drinking songs

Keith, who became a big name on the scene in the midst of the country boom in the 90s, knew how to polarize and was considered a cocky figure. Reports described his powerful and booming voice with which he sang both love and drinking songs. He created the image of the macho and God-believing American patriot and rarely shied away from conflict – be it with other celebrities, journalists or record executives.

Keith received criticism, among other things, for his song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”, which the musician wrote after the attacks of September 11th and which was seen by some as nationalist war propaganda. Keith responded in an interview with Newsday that he doesn’t apologize for being patriotic. Where he stood politically in a deeply divided America was not always clear. For years he described himself as a conservative Democrat and expressed admiration for US presidents as diverse as Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

“Cancer is a roller coaster ride”

Keith, who worked in the oil fields and rodeo shows as a young man and later moved to Nashville to try his luck as a musician, recently told Oklahoma station News 9, “Cancer is a roller coaster ride.” His family and his faith would help him get through the treatment and the illness. He himself supported a foundation for children with cancer, it was said.

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