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BULLETIN: Country Music Star Toby Keith Has Died

DEVELOPING STORY: Country music superstar Toby Keith has died. He was 62.

Keith, who had been battling stomach cancer, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.

“He fought his fight with grace and courage,” read a statement on his Facebook page. “Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Keith and his wife Tricia, had three children and a number of grandchildren.

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“Too many rides in my old man’s car listening to Toby Keith,” said Country music artist Zach Bryan. “Really hard thing to hear. Rest in peace, friend. We love you.”

In an interview with InspireMore, Keith credited his faith in God with helping him endure the cancer.

“You have to have your faith,” he said. “Thank God that I got it, too. You take it for granted on days that are good, and you lean on it when days are bad. It’s taught me to lean on it a little more every day.”

Keith said he had “experienced a peace that surpasses all understanding,” and he had come to terms with the possibility that he may not win his war with cancer.

“I finally got to a point in the spring … where I was comfortable with whatever happened,” he continued. “I got my brain wrapped around it. And I was in a good spot, either way. People without faith don’t have that.”

He released his debut album in 1993 and is known for hits including “Red Solo Cup” and “I Wanna Talk About Me.” Keith’s 2002 song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” released in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, made him a household name.

“Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” his breakout hit, was played 3 million times on radio stations, making it the most played country song of the 1990s.

He was also a fierce supporter of the U.S. military. During his career he performed on 11 USO tours across the globe. He also helped to raised millions for charity over his career, including building a home in Oklahoma City for kids and their families who are battling cancer.

Keith’s hit song, “American Ride,” has been the theme song of the Todd Starnes Radio Show since its inception.

Winter getting colder, summer gettin’ warmer
Tidal wave come ‘cross the Mexican border
Why buy a gallon? It’s cheaper by the barrel
Just don’t get busted singing Christmas carols

That’s us, that’s right
Gotta love this American ride
Both ends of the ozone burnin’
Funny how the world keeps turnin’
Look Ma, no hands
I love this American ride
Gotta love this American ride

Mama gets her box off watchin’ “Desperate Housewives”
Daddy works his ass off payin’ for the good life
Kids on the Youtube learnin’ how to be cool
Livin’ in a cruel world, pays to be a mean girl

That’s us, that’s right
Gotta love this American ride
Both ends of the ozone burnin’
Funny how the world keeps turnin’
Look Ma, no hands
I love this American ride
Gotta love this American ride

American Ride, Toby Keith

“Those lyrics really captured the heart of what my show is about,” said Starnes. “Toby Keith was an incredible musician and entertainer. But he also had his finger on the pulse of the American spirit. He was truly a country music legend and a great American patriot.”

Keith worked as a roughneck in the oil fields of Oklahoma as a young man, then played semi-pro football before launching his career as a singer.

“I write about life, and I sing about life, and I don’t overanalyze things,” Keith told The Associated Press in 2001, following the success of his song “I’m Just Talking About Tonight.”

With reporting from Associated Press

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