Thomas Rhett On the Loss of Toby Keith: ‘It Breaks My Heart’

Thomas Rhett knew Toby Keith better than a lot of people, thanks to his dad, singer-songwriter Rhett Akins. The father of four shared his memories of Keith on social media, shortly after the news of his passing was announced.

“It breaks my heart to hear about the passing of Toby Keith,” Rhett wrote. “I’ve known Toby since I was a kid. He used to run around in the same circle as my dad. When I signed my first record deal in 2012, Toby was the very first person to take me on tour… I watched his show every single night just trying to soak up as much as I could.

“I learned so much about how to write songs, how to perform, and how to entertain from Toby Keith,” he added. “I am so honored to say that I got to share the stage with him. Toby – I hope your soul rests easy brother.”

It breaks my heart to hear about the passing of Toby Keith… I’ve known Toby since I was a kid. He used to run around in…

Posted by Thomas Rhett on Tuesday, February 6, 2024


Artists flooded social media to share their thoughts on the loss of Keith, who had been battling stomach cancer since 2021.

“Even though I knew about your battle these last few months I still never imagined this day,” Blake Shelton said. “Anyone who knew you knows what I mean. You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you brother for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.”

“Just waking up to the news of Toby Keith’s passing,” Jason Aldean wrote. “Today is a sad day for Country music and its fans. Toby was a huge presence in our business and someone we all looked up to and respected. You and your music will be forever remembered big man.”

“Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ‘cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!!!” Carrie Underwood posted. “Introduce him to all the Okies and sign that boy up for the choir! We’re gonna miss you, Toby, but my heart has no doubt that you are standing in the presence of our King right now!!! See you again someday, friend.”

“I am incredibly saddened at the loss of Toby Keith,” The Oak Ridge Boys‘ Joe Bonsall wrote. “He battled hard and I thought he was doing better and even hitting the road again. I guess God had other plans for him. Rest Easy Toby … You were a great talent who in my opinion never received the accolades you deserved!”

“Toby Keith was a true trail blazer,” Old Dominion shared. “Authentic and heartfelt but always with a wink ‘til the end. He was larger than life in so many ways and his music will live on forever! Raising our red solos tonight—you will be missed by so many. Peace.”

Keith was 62 years old when he passed away. Funeral services have yet to be announced.