Toby Keith, a major country music star who sold tens of millions of records, has died at the age of 62
“[He] passed peacefully last night… surrounded by his family,” a statement on his social media channels said.
Keith rose to fame in the 1990s with songs such as Should’ve Been a Cowboy which topped the country music chart.
He announced in June 2022 that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, an illness the star said was “debilitating”.
The statement said he “fought his fight with grace and dignity”.
Over a more than 30-year career, hits including Who’s Your Daddy and Made in America were enjoyed by millions. He is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucus, and three children.
Keith said he had been receiving chemotherapy, radiation and surgery for his cancer. He said he was “comfortable with whatever happened” with his illness.
An Oklahoma native, he worked in oil fields and as a semi-professional American Football player before breaking out as a musician in the 1990s.
His debut single Should’ve Been a Cowboy, released in 1993, became a number one hit. The song romanticises the cowboy lifestyle with reference to singing cowboys Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
Later albums included Blue Moon, Pull My Chain and Unleashed.
Keith’s songs frequently made reference to patriotic themes, most controversially with the song Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American), released shortly after the 9/11 attacks, which was criticised for what some perceived as chauvinistic lyrics.
The song was criticised by fellow country artists the Dixie Chicks. The feud lasted several months before Keith announced there were “far more important things” to focus on.
Over the years, he played at events for several US presidents, including George W Bush. Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Mr Trump awarded Keith a National Medal of the Arts in 2021.