Toby Keith, a country music icon, passed away on Monday after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. A poignant final video posted to his Instagram account hours before his death has gone viral, showcasing his return to music. The video, which has been viewed over 8 million times, features Keith from behind at a concert where he is waving to the crowd, signaling the end of the show.
Keith was first diagnosed with cancer in 2021 and made it public the following year, when he took an indefinite hiatus from recording new music and performing live. He remained committed to raising funds for his children’s cancer charity, the Toby Keith Foundation. Throughout his three-decade career, he sold over 40 million albums, including hits like “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American),” and “I Love This Bar.”
President Donald Trump awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 2021, and one of his final honours came in September at the People’s Choice Country Awards. Keith made a triumphant return to the stage in December with a series of sold-out Las Vegas shows, which he dubbed “triumphant.”
Prior to those shows, Keith revealed that he had accepted his cancer diagnosis and refused to let it interfere with his life. He remained defiant in the face of cancer, despite not knowing how long he would live. He told the Taste of Country website in November that he would not let this define the rest of his life.
Tricia Lucus, Keith’s wife, as well as their three children and four grandchildren, are all still alive.