Tim McGraw remembered late country music legend Toby Keith by the connection they shared with one another at the beginning of their careers in the early 1990s. McGraw posted album artwork as he reflected on April 20, 1993, the day he and Keith released their respective self-titled debut albums.
“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,” McGraw reflected. “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.”
Keith’s 10-track, self-titled debut album included “He Ain’t Worth Missing,” “Wish I Didn’t Know Now,” “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” and other highlights. The project paved the way for his massively successful, decade-long career as a country artist. The Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter went on to release “I Love This Bar,” “God Love Her,” “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” “My List” and other unforgettable hits.
Keith “passed peacefully…surrounded by his family,” reads a statement posted on his social media pages in the early morning hours Tuesday (February 6). Keith died on Monday night (February 5), following a years-long battle with stomach cancer, which he fought “with grace and courage.” The country hitmaker announced in June 2022 that he’d been diagnosed with stomach cancer the previous fall. Keith said at that time that he would take time off with his family to rest and recover. In December, Keith played his final performances in a three-night run in Las Vegas. He said as he announced those performances that was the “first time in my whole life I've been off over two years. I've never been off a year in my life.”
News of Keith’s death prompted an outpouring of tributes as the country music community mourned his loss, including Blake Shelton, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson and many others. Dan + Shay posted a stunning cover of Keith’s 2008 heartache ballad, “She Never Cried in Front of Me,” and Dolly Parton said it’s “always hard when we lose our brothers and sisters in country music.”