Toby Keith’s Son Honors His Father: ‘I Love You Cowboy’

Toby Keith‘s son, Stelen Covel, is honoring his late father, who passed away on February 5. Covel, the youngest of the three children Keith shared with his wife, Tricia, shared a sweet tribute to the country music icon on social media.

“You are the strongest man I have ever known,” Covel writes. “A fighter. A true titan of your industry. My guiding star. My coach. My hero. An embodiment of the American Spirit. You are a man whose strength, prowess, and talent could only be trumped by his ability to be a father and husband. Your impact is forever stamped on the world and on millions of people, yet not one person knew you the way I did. You were my biggest champion and the guiding light in my darkest times. The best mentor a man could ask for.

“You held a passion that was greater than mountains and it radiates through every lyric and chord,” he continued. “In the everlasting echo from the legacy of your music, you leave me strength and faith to lean on in the silence that follows. You truly did it your way, from the starting gates to the finish line, and never apologized for it. The only thing I truly ever wanted in life was to make you proud. I promise I will continue to make you proud. It’s not goodbye forever; it’s just goodbye for now. I love you cowboy.”

You are the strongest man I have ever known.
A fighter. A true titan of your industry. My guiding star. My coach. My…

Posted by Stelen Keith Covel on Thursday, February 8, 2024


Keith walked Haley, Covel’s now-wife, down the aisle for their wedding in 2021.

“My son was getting married, and his wife didn’t have a father,” Keith recalled on Audacy’s Katie & Company. “She asked my son, Stelen, if I’d walk her down the aisle, and I said, ‘Sure.’

“And now I’m a month away from that, and I’m thinking I might not make it that far,” he added. “I didn’t know. When you get diagnosed, you just freak. Here it is two years later … those things are more important than anything. I’m so blessed.”

Prior to his health declining, Keith planned on touring in 2024, after performing three sold-out Las Vegas shows in December.

“It’s on the board,” Keith told Taste of Country Nights, On Demand. “They have got a great plan together, and we’ve built a new set, and we’re getting the trucks and buses fired up. Our plan is to go forward, don’t let this stuff define our future — let’s go.”

Keith tried both chemotherapy and holistic treatments to combat the stomach cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2021.

“I feel pretty good. It’s a rollercoaster all the time with this stuff,” he said last fall on the Sellout Crowd podcast. “I have the resources financially and otherwise to get the best treatments I can get. They’re taking great care of me and I’m getting all the latest stuff you can get. In fact, I’m going tomorrow to Florida to see another guy down there, that’s got some other kind of treatments, and I’m trying them all. I’m throwing the kitchen sink at it.”

Funeral services for Keith have yet to be announced.