Willie Nelson Pays Tribute Following Toby Keith’s Death

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Country music legend Toby Keith passed away on February 5th and is being remembered by his fans and fellow country artists.

In 2021, Toby Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Toby decided to temporarily step away from the spotlight following his diagnosis, but later returned for one last hurrah.

Keith made several appearances on stage following his diagnosis, even performing a few surprise, pop-up concerts. Toby was honored with the Country Icon Award at the first-ever People’s Choice Country Awards in September of 2023. This award was more than fitting for Keith who made a profound impact on the country music industry as a singer, songwriter and business man.


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A post shared by Toby Keith (@tobykeith)

The news of Toby’s passing was shared by his family in a statement on his social media accounts, stating, “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Blake Shelton reacts to Toby Keith's death on February 5
Toby Keith / Facebook

Several country stars have reacted to this news, Willie Nelson being one of them.

It’s no secret Willie Nelson and Toby Keith had a special bond. While they didn’t collaborate often, this pair joined forces on one of Keith’s most popular songs, “Beer For My Horses.”

“Beer for my Horses” was released in April of 2003 as the fourth and final single from Toby’s album Unleashed. The song became Toby’s highest-charting song at that point in his career reaching #22 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Beer for my Horses” also held the #1 spot on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for six weeks. This was Toby Keith’s 11th #1, and Willie Nelson’s 23rd. This hit song also made Willie Nelson the oldest artist to reach #1 on the country charts at the age of 70.

Keith later released a song called “Weed with Willie,” which tells the funny story about sharing weed with the Red-Headed Stranger. “Weed with Willie” was included on Keith’s Shock’n Y’all album he released in 2003.

Willie Nelson remembered his friend on social media

Willie posted on “X” about Toby saying, “‘I’ve had a lot of fun singing with Toby. He’s one of us…’ Rest in peace, Toby.” The post also includes a video of the duo singing their hit song, “Beer for my Horses.”

See the official music video for “Beer For My Horses” below.