(Left) Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images / (Right) Trae Patton / NBC via Getty Images
Reba McEntire is remembering her friend and fellow “Okie,” Toby Keith. He passed away on February 5 at the age of 62.
Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021. In his family’s statement about his passing, they praised the courage and bravery he demonstrated throughout his battle.
“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5, surrounded by his family” the family shared. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
Dozens of artists paid tribute to Keith after learning about his death. One of those artists was McEntire, who spoke about his passing in an interview with PEOPLE.
“We’re going to miss him so much, not only as a friend but a fellow performer and person in the music business and from Oklahoma,” McEntire said.
“But he doesn’t have to fight anymore, and he doesn’t have to hurt anymore. I hope one day to get to see him up in Heaven. Thank God we have his wonderful music to keep us company, even though he’s not here on Earth with us.”
McEntire also shared fond memories of touring with Keith in the 90s.
“That was a lot of fun,” she said. “Toby was more of the renegade, the outlaw type, and I’m the Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes, and so it was kind of like two ends of the spectrum.”
McEntire also praised Keith’s talents as a singer and songwriter. She said:
“He was a great writer, a great singer. When Toby came on the radio, you knew who that was. Toby Keith was a distinctive vocalist, a stylist, that you knew exactly who he was. So, that’s a wonderful trait to have.”
McEntire also shared a short statement about Keith’s death with Oklahoma news station KOCO 5 News. Listen to her share more kind words about him in the video below.