‘Proudly patriotic’: Kid Rock remembers country star Toby Keith as tributes following his death roll in

Legendary country star Toby Keith was remembered as an “incredible talent” by his good friend Kid Rock who spoke about the passing of the 62-year-old singer.

Keith died Monday after a battle with stomach cancer, and his family made the announcement early Tuesday.

“Toby Keith passed away peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family,” read the statement on his website and social media accounts.

“He fought his fight with grace and courage,” the statement continued. “Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

As news spread, the music industry reacted, mourning the loss of the “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” singer and songwriter.

“He had so many great memories, such a talent. He’s going to be missed,” Kid Rock told “Fox & Friends” Tuesday in a phone interview. “He was such an incredible talent and he loved his family like he loved his country. And we should also not forget what a what a fun guy he was.”

“My heart goes out to his family, all his friends here in Nashville, all around the country, all around the world. But I’m especially thinking of his wife and his children right now,” Kid Rock said of Keith, who is survived by his wife, Tricia, three children and four grandchildren.

He recalled the country star’s support of the American military, as Keith had been part of 11 USO tours playing for troops serving overseas.

“We used to joke about who went over there more because me and him, definitely, you know, have tens, if not 20 times that we have been there, you know, spending Christmases, Thanksgivings, you know, just whenever we were called, we went to do it,” Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, told the “Fox & Freinds” crew.

“Sometimes we called them and we went do it. And we had a lot of conversations about that, about how it was the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done in our careers, but it was also the most work,” he added. “What a great patriot to just do that.”

A U.S. Army veteran recalled meeting him once.

Keith continued to perform throughout his illness which he announced in June 2022. He recently performed three sold-out shows in Las Vegas in December. Back in 2017, Keith stepped up to perform at newly-elected President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Trump later awarded the star with the National Medal of the Arts just before leaving office.

“His story is a distinctly American one — a former roughneck oil worker who carved out his own space in country music with a sinewy voice and an unbending will to succeed. He wrote his breakthrough songs and later formed his own record label when he felt underserved by Nashville,” the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum said in a statement on Keith’s passing.

“He relished being an outsider and doing things his way,” the statement continued. “Proudly patriotic, he didn’t mind if his clear-cut convictions ruffled your feathers. For three decades, he reflected the defiant strength of the country music audience. His memory will continue to stand tall.”

The tributes poured in on social media.

 

Frieda Powers

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