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Toby Keith remembered as ’embodiment of the American Spirit’ by son

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Toby Keith was remembered as “an embodiment of the American Spirit” by his son days after his tragic death.

Keith died Monday after battling stomach cancer, his family revealed in a statement. The country music star announced his diagnosis in June 2022.

“You are the strongest man I have ever known,” Stelen Covel wrote on Instagram along with a throwback photo of himself and Keith. “A fighter. A true titan of your industry. My guiding star. My coach. My hero.”

COUNTRY SINGER TOBY KEITH DEAD AT 62

Toby Keith passed away Monday after battling cancer. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“You are a man whose strength, prowess, and talent could only be trumped by his ability to be a father and husband,” he added. “Your impact is forever stamped on the world and on millions of people, yet not one person knew you the way I did. You were my biggest champion and the guiding light in my darkest times.”

Covel also remembered Keith as the “best mentor.”

“You held a passion that was greater than mountains and it radiates through every lyric and chord. In the everlasting echo from the legacy of your music, you leave me strength and faith to lean on in the silence that follows,” he wrote. “You truly did it your way, from the starting gates to the finish line, and never apologized for it.

“The only thing I truly ever wanted in life was to make you proud. I promise I will continue to make you proud… I love you cowboy.”

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Toby Keith performing in 2023

Toby Keith continued to perform after being diagnosed with cancer. (Katherine Bomboy/NBC via Getty Images)

Keith was known best for his hit song, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” The tune became the most played country song of the 1990s as it was played on the radio 3 million times.

Other top hits from the artist included “I Love This Bar,” “As Good as I Once Was,” “Beer for My Horses” and “How Do You Like Me Now?!”

Throughout his career, Keith received seven Grammy nominations and was named entertainer of the year multiple times at the Country Music Awards. He took home the CMA’s album of the year honor in 2001 and again in 2004. Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Toby Keith at the People's Choice Awards 2023

Toby Keith was diagnosed with cancer in 2022. (Tammie Arroyo/Variety via Getty Images)

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Keith released his final album in 2021, “Peso in my Pocket.” The singer continued to perform after being diagnosed with cancer and took the stage one last time in December.

Keith is survived by his wife, Tricia; three children; and four grandchildren.

Toby Keith performing in 2014

Toby Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ACM)

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