Musicians Remember Toby Keith

photo from Toby Keith

As the music community learns the news of Toby Keith’s passing, musicians have shared memories and their thoughts about the country music icon’s death.

Toby Keith’s death was announced on social media early Tuesday, February 6th. Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2022, he was 62.

Dolly Parton shared on social media,”It’s always hard when we lose our brothers and sisters in country music. Toby Keith was one of the greats in every way. He will be missed but his music and legacy live on.”

“Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ’cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!! Introduce him to all the Okies and sign that boy up for the choir! We’re gonna miss you, Toby, but my heart has no doubt that you are standing in the presence of our King right now!! See you again someday friend”- Carrie Underwood

“Our self titled debuts came out on the same day, April 20, 1993… Toby and I spent quite a bit of time together early in our careers…..We had a lot of good times and conversations about what we wanted out of our careers and our lives. He was a maverick. He did things his way, on his terms, a true artist. I always have and always will have tremendous respect for his artistry, dedication and fearlessness to do his thing.We all will miss you, brother.”-Tim McGraw 

“It breaks my heart to hear about the passing of Toby Keith.. I’ve known Toby since I was a kid. He used to run around in the same circle as my dad. When I signed my first record deal in 2012, Toby was the first person to take me on tour.. I watched his show every single night just trying to soak up as much as I could. I learned so much about how to write songs, how to perform, and how to entertain from Toby Keith. I am so honored to say that I got to share the stage with him. Toby- I hope your soul rests easy brother.”- Thomas Rhett 

We covered “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” at every show last year-Toby inspired millions and I was one of them”- Jelly Roll

“I was perhaps a little young to appreciate the magnitude of Toby’s influence in the music industry when I first met him. He was so gentle and kind. It was such an amazing blessing to perform together in my Christmas special in 2018. That’s something I will cherish forever. He leaves a legacy that my generation is so lucky to draw inspiration from. Rest easy, Toby. My prayers are with his wonderful family.”- Darci Lynne

“Toby and I were label mates when I was with Hot Apple Pie. We all looked up to him for his support of our troops. He was always a straight-shooter and very encouraging. Rest in peace, my brother.”Brady Seals


“We’re very saddened to hear about the passing of fellow Oklahoman, Toby Keith. He was a great man with an amazing talent and will be surely missed. Toby was always so kind, supportive, and encouraging to us and other musicians. We’re grateful for the time he poured into us, sharing his story of how he almost gave up on his music career, and how he encouraged us to keep up the fight. We’re honored to have had the opportunity to share the stage with him and send our deepest condolences to his sweet wife Tricia and the entire family.” The Imaginaries

“You would have rather heard how Toby Keith beat cancer this morning as the broadcasts carry the news of his passing. What I knew was that he was a patriot and expressed it in his music and conversation. His love for our country. The realization of his mortality. His decision to trust and follow Christ made him more than a cowboy last night. Condolences to Tricia, and his family. RIP, TK” Marty Raybon / Shenandoah

“Toby Keith was a complete original and, like everyone, we’ll miss him and his music. God Bless his family and may he rest in peace.”The Bellamy Brothers

“I admired his independence as a singer, songwriter and businessman. Toby Keith did it his way.  My sincere condolences to his family and to his many fans around the world.” Gene Watson

“Toby was an entertainers entertainer. Not only did he have career songs to sing, he could have an arena in the palm of his hand. TK will be missed, but not forgotten.” – Taylor Hicks

“Toby radiated boundless energy, genuine warmth, and extraordinary talent as a songwriter. His support for the military was not just commendable but deeply inspiring. He was a great guy whose contributions will always be respected and remembered fondly.” Phil Vassar

“Toby Keith’s patriotism, charisma and talent will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace, buddy.”
Flat River Band

I was saddened to hear of Toby Keith’s passing. He really was one of the good guys. He helped a lot of people get started in the business. He loved God, he loved his family, and he was a true Patriot. He loved America. A friend to so many, including myself! Rest dear brother, you’re home at last!” –Ricky Skaggs

Toby did as much good off-stage as he did on it. I got to be a part of his OK Kids Korral a few years back, and we sang a few together to benefit those kids. A good man with a huge legacy that stands as tall as him.” -John Anderson

“Toby has been an amazing friend with sound advice in some key moments in my life. This loss cuts deep but I’m so encouraged at the true faith that Toby has displayed and carries with him. I will continue to pray for his family, and there is no doubt that he is now in the peace that passes all understanding. You left this world a great gift in your songs!

Rest high my brother and thank you!”
-Tim Rushlow / The Frontmen / Former lead singer of Little Texas

Sometimes we use the word ‘friend’ when we really mean acquaintance. Toby Keith was my friend, and all I know is this. My friend Toby does not have cancer in Heaven this morning. As we’d say in OKLAHOMA and TEXAS, he was a good sumbich. That’s about the highest praise a TEXAN can give to someone. REST IN PEACE, COWBOY.” -Larry Gatlin

“Toby Keith was his own man. He set a great example for all of us in life and in death. He had one shot at this, just like we all do, and he did it his way. I paid attention to his life and his career. He had a swagger that was a little different than most because he knew who he was. In life we have a chance to leave a mark that will not fade and he knocked it out of the park. In death we have a chance to exit this awful, beautiful life with grace and dignity. Toby just hit another grand slam and we could learn from this example. Sometimes it’s not about the elaborate production because sometimes the production is simply the actions of the man. God Bless you and your family and thank you for showing us all how it’s done.”-Darryl Worley

“Toby did it ‘The Cowboy Way’ with courage and dignity and his work will live on. Old Cowboys Never Die, they just ride away.” -Billy Dean

We are saddened to hear of the passing of the great Toby Keith. What an amazing talent. We lost another Real Cowboy! Gone too soon but we know where he is. Ride in Peace, TK.”-Doug Gray / The Marshall Tucker Band

“I’m so sorry to hear of Toby’s passing. He was a great singer, and his songwriting talent was enormous. My condolences to his family.” -Henry Paul / BlackHawk & The Outlaws

We’ve lost a great one. Toby was an amazing talent and man. Sending prayers to his family and friends.” -Aaron Tippin

What a huge loss for the family of country music. I, like so many, loved Toby and his great songs! I was honored and proud to call him my friend. He was so much fun, always a gentleman and such a beautiful soul. Til we see you again, Rest in Heavenly Peace, Toby.”-Deborah Allen

“Stood me still with emotion and memories to see and hear of the loss of my friend…the legend…Toby Keith. Heart breaking with thoughts and prayers for his fans and family this morning. We toured together several times around the globe.  He was always the kindest…sweetest gentle giant of an outlaw one could ever hope to entertain and make music with. Raising a Red Cup this morning and saying a prayer. Heavens a honkytonk tonight.”- Billy Ray Cyrus


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