Darius Rucker Covers Toby Keith Anthem In His Honor On Grand Ole Opry Stage

By Kelly Fisher

February 7, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

Darius Rucker paid tribute to late country music legend Toby Keith when he took the historic Grand Ole Opry stage ion Tuesday night (February 6) in Nashville, Tennessee. Keith “passed peacefully…surrounded by his family,” following a years-long battle with stomach cancer. He was 62.

“Toby’s a legend, you know, songwriting and just everything he did, he’s a legend,” Rucker said, per his record label. “I think he left behind great songs. That’s what you want to do when you do what we do, you want to leave behind great songs and Toby definitely did that.”

Rucker took the Opry stage and covered “God Love Her,” a hit single from Keith’s 2008 album, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy. A video of Rucker delivering his rendition of Keith’s anthem appeared on the Opry’s Instagram story on Tuesday evening, followed by Rucker’s performance of “Wagon Wheel”: “She's a rebel child/ And a preacher's daughter/ She was baptized in dirty water/ Her mama cried the first time/ They caught her with me/ They knew they couldn't stop her/ She holds tight to me and the Bible/ On the back seat of my motorcycle/ Left her daddy standin' there/ Preachin' to the choir/ You see, God love her/ Oh me and God love her.”

Keith announced in June 2022 that he was diagnosed with stomach cancer the previous fall, and had been receiving chemo, radiation and surgery for months. He said at that time that he would take time off with his family to rest and recover. Since then, the beloved country star has shared some updates along the way, and announced his final run of shows in late 2023. Keith first announced back-to-back shows in Las Vegas in December, which quickly sold out, prompting the “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” artist to add a third and final performance date. In Keith’s final Instagram post before his death, he shared a video capturing a triumphant moment on stage during one of his final shows. A statement posted to his social media pages in the early morning hours on Tuesday confirmed: “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on Feb. 5 surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Since then, fans and the country music community have taken part in an outpouring of tributes in Keith’s honor. Rucker posted a photo on stage with Keith, writing in his caption: “Country music lost a legend. RIP Toby.”

Darius RuckerToby Keith
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