Country Star Toby Keith Dies Aged 62

( – Country superstar Toby Keith lost his two-year battle with stomach cancer on February 5, according to a statement on his website. Keith’s style was unique, with a booming voice to match his towering 6-foot-4 stature. He wrote and sang various types of songs, including many dedicated to the American way of life. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Keith released “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue,” which was viewed by some as too controversial. He performed at various presidential events for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Many of his songs were playful and talked about drinking, including “Red Solo Cup,” “Whiskey Girl,” and “I Love This Bar.”

Before gaining fame, Keith worked in Oklahoma’s oil fields as a roughneck. He loved football, especially the Oklahoma University Sooners. He played semiprofessional football for the United States Football League’s (USFL) Oklahoma City Drillers but then shifted to pursuing his music career full-time. Keith said that “the only constant thing we had was music,” when discussing his decision to commit to making it in the industry. At the time, he did not have any contracts and was unsure if he would make any money. He eventually wound up in Nashville, where he was signed by Mercury Records. His 1993 debut album “Toby Keith” reached platinum status.

Keith parted ways with the label and signed with DreamWorks Records in 1999. After it was acquired by Universal Music Group, he started his own record label called Big Machine. Keith said at the time that “75 percent of the people in this town think I’ll fail,” adding that the other 25 percent hoped he would. He won Entertainer of the Year at the ACM awards in 2003 and 2004. Former President Trump awarded Keith the National Medal of Arts in January 2021 before leaving office. A private funeral service and a public memorial will be held this month for Keith.

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