Toby Keith, the larger-than-life singer-songwriter of the No. 1 country hit “Who's Your Daddy?” and “Made in America” and one of the biggest stars to come out of Nashville in three decades died Monday. He is 62 years old.
His death was announced that day His official websiteIt said he passed “peacefully” surrounded by his family.
The singer announced in the summer of 2022 that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
In a recent interview KWTV News 9, Oklahoma-based TV station Mr. Keith, who performed in Las Vegas in December, said he is still undergoing treatment. “Cancer is a rollercoaster,” she said. “You sit here and wait for it to go away – it might never go away.” Keith said his Christian faith helped him get through treatment and possible dark outcomes.
Mr. Keith, singing in an alternately declaiming and growling baritone, developed a boisterous, in-your-face persona on records like “I Wanna Talk About Me” and “Beer for My Horses.”
Built with witty wordplay and tongue-in-cheek humor — and a bit of macho bluster — both hit the top of the country charts, “Beer for My Horses,” Willie Nelson's vocal, pop top-crossing, Rolling Stones-style rocker 40s.
Mr. Keith wrote or co-wrote most of his material, which ranged stylistically from traditional honky-tonk to pop-country balladry and Southern rock. More than 60 of his singles, including 20 No. 1 hits, reached the country charts, and he sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. In 2015 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in a class with Cyndi Lauper, blues pioneer Willie Dixon and Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.
Mr. Keith was already in his 30s and had spent years fighting to make it in the music business when he signed his first record deal in 1993. He previously worked as a rodeo hand and a roughneck in the Oklahoma oil fields. A semi-professional footballer to support his young family.
“For the first 20 years of my adult life I didn't take much vacation,” said Mr. Keith said on a 2018 episode of The Big Interview with Don Rather.
In 1993, “I came out and my song was a hit,” he added, “Should've Been a Cowboy,” his first No. 1 country single. I know I'm going.
“At the time I was trying to outdo everybody.”