Carrie Underwood honors Toby Keith, the ‘true blue cowboy’ who ‘made his ride up to heaven’

Carrie Underwood is among the many stars honoring the legendary Toby Keith, whose death left a void that cannot be filled.

Keith, 62, lost his two-and-a-half-year battle with stomach cancer and “passed peacefully” in his sleep on February 6.

And though the world has lost an extraordinary talent, heaven, according to Underwood, just gained a “true blue cowboy.”

The country music world was completely shaken on February 5 after family released a statement saying that cancer claimed the life of the 62-year-old, Oklahoma-born Toby Keith.

“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on Feb. 5 surrounded by his family,” the statement reads. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Keith, who broke into the country music scene in 1993 with the song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” was an outspoken patriot with more than 30 years of topping the charts with his toe-tapping tunes.

‘Don’t Let the Old Man In’

In September 2023, a little more than one year after announcing he had stomach cancer, Keith vowed to perform at the People’s Choice Awards, where he received the Icon Award.

Accepting the award prior to his performance, Keith, frail and thin, stepped on stage and joked “I bet you all never thought you’d see me in skinny jeans.”

And then he performed a lesser-known song, “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” which was written for Clint Eastwood’s 2018 film The Mule.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience as he sang the lyrics to the haunting song that tells the story of an old man refusing to surrender to death.

“Many moons I have lived/My body’s weathered and worn/Ask yourself how would you be/If you didn’t know the day you were born.” The song continues, “When he rides up on his horse/And you feel that cold bitter wind/Look out your window and smile/Don’t let the old man in.”

Since his death, the song hit the top spot in iTune’s country music chart.

‘Ride up to heaven’

On Tuesday, shortly after his family announced the death of the “Beer for my Horses” singer, social media blew up with stars like Carrie Underwood memorializing the country music icon, who inspired generations of future artists.

On Instagram, Underwood shared a heartfelt tribute to the late “Red Solo Cup” singer.

She writes, “Saddle up the horses, Jesus, ‘cause a true blue COWBOY just made his ride up to heaven!!! 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.”

Along with her tribute, Underwood also shared images from the two at the 2022 BMI Country Awards, where Keith was being honored.

At the ceremony, the “Before He Cheats” singer performed his signature hit “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.”

“It was artists like you that taught kids like me that greatness is possible,” the powerhouse vocalist said before starting the song.

Toby Keith’s influence on the industry, and amongst fans, is undeniable.

He will be missed.

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