The Oklahoma football world mourns the loss of legendary country music star Toby Keith on Tuesday, with the 62-year-old passing away after a long battle with stomach cancer. The Oklahoma Sooners Twitter page posted a heartfelt message in memorium to Keith, thanking him for his unwavering support of the school. The country music award winner died in his sleep in Oklahoma.
The OU Athletics family is incredibly saddened by the passing of our dear friend Toby Keith. It's a profoundly sad reality to exist in a world where Toby doesn't. He brought life and joy to every room he entered, and our hearts are dimmer today without him. An American icon and a… pic.twitter.com/NAcSDKgyFa
— Oklahoma Sooners (@OU_Athletics) February 6, 2024
Born in Moore, Oklahoma, Keith became a massive Oklahoma Sooners fan. An American icon, Keith is survived by his wife Tricia and his three children.
Toby Keith: All-Time Country Artist
An American country music artist and songwriter, Keith broke through in the 1990s, releasing five studio albums, all of which earned gold or higher certification. His singles ”Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and “How Do You Like Me Now?!” became two of the decade’s most popular songs. His subsequent three albums also produced number-one singles.
Keith founded the label Show Dog Nashville in 2005, releasing ten albums through his new brand. During his storied career, Keith released 19 studio albums while charting 61 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The hit singles “Beer for My Horses” featuring Willie Nelson and “As Good as I Once Was” were record-breaking songs for Keith. Each sat at the top spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs for six weeks each. He also made his acting debut in 2006, starring in the drama Broken Bridges with Lindsey Haun, Burt Reynolds, and Kelly Preston.
Toby Keith: Massive Supporter of Oklahoma Football
Born in Moore, Oklahoma, Toby Keith became a massive fan of the Oklahoma Sooners. Former Oklahoma football head coach Bob Stoops once relived how the song “How Do You Like Me Now?!” embodied the Sooners during their championship run in 2000. Popular Oklahoma Twitter page The Ref shared the audio clip of Stoops talking about his favorite Toby Keith song and its impact on the championship team.
“That song was popular when I got to OU in ’99, and 2000 we won the National Champion. I had a bunch of guys that weren’t looked upon real great when I walked in there, and here we are, Toby singing ‘How Do You Like Me Now?!’ at our celebration after we won the national championship back when we celebrated in the stadium.”
Keith also supported the Sooners as a guest picker on College Gameday before the Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma football and Texas Longhorns circa 2018.
“This is the only time of the year me and my boy don’t talk. You know who I’m picking, I’m picking the Sooners, baby,” said Keith during his time on ESPN’s flagship college football show.
Unfortunately for the Sooners, they fell 48-45 to the Longhorns. Quarterback Kyler Murray totaled 396 yards and five scores, while wideout Marquise Brown and CeeDee Lamb combined for three touchdowns, but the Sooners had no answer for Texas gunslinger Sam Ehlinger.