Toby Keith inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame after tragic death

It would be an understatement to say that Toby Keith‘s passing on February 5 left a void in the country music world.

And it seems like the Country Music Association agreed, as it’s been revealed that Keith has been posthumously named as one of the three new inductees into the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.

Alongside him are fellow country musician John Anderson and renowned country-rock guitarist James Burton.

Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty.

While Toby Keith will be inducted posthumously, he had actually been elected into the Hall of Fame just days before his passing.

Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern clarified that there’s a rule against posthumous inductions within a year of a nominee’s death, but this rule didn’t apply in Keith’s case, as voting concluded on February 2, according to Variety.

The news of Toby Keith’s induction came a day after his passing due to stomach cancer, something Trahern said was a “bittersweet” moment. “It was bittersweet that our team received word from Deloitte just a few hours later that he had been elected,” she said.

“My heart sank that Tuesday afternoon that we had missed a chance to inform Toby while he was still with us,” she continued, adding that she was, however, confident that he would be looking down with pride from above.

Toby Keith pictured five months before his death. Credit: Tammie Arroyo / Variety / Getty.

Kix Brooks, who co-hosted the announcements with Ronnie Dunn, emphasized Keith’s multifaceted persona beyond just his music. “Many people tried to portray him as one-dimensional, and he wasn’t,” Brooks remarked, citing Keith’s extensive philanthropic efforts, including his 11 USO tours and numerous performances for the armed forces.

Keith’s illustrious career has already earned him several accolades, including induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2021. He was also honored as a BMI Icon at the PRO’s 2022 ceremony in Nashville.

The medallion ceremony honoring Toby Keith (as well as his fellow inductees John Anderson, and James Burton) is scheduled to take place in October at the CMA Theater, marking a fitting tribute to their enduring legacies in country music.


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