Toby Keith's Family Shares Statement After Jason Aldean's Tribute

By Kelly Fisher

May 17, 2024

Photo: Getty Images

Toby Keith’s family shared a statement on the late country legend’s social media pages following Jason Aldean’s “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” cover at the 59th ACM Awards on Thursday evening (May 16).

Aldean performed a reimagined version of the 90s country hit when he took the stage at the world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Images of Keith were displayed on screen throughout the performance. Blake Shelton said he was “heartbroken and yet honored,” to remember Keith as he introduced Aldean to the stage. Reba McEntire, who returned to host the show for the 17th time on Thursday evening, said “we’ll never forget” Keith, and it feels as though he was present that night.

“The Covel family would like to thank Jason Aldean for the wonderfully touching performance at the ACM Awards tonight,” the family said in a statement. “It was the perfect tribute to Toby Keith.”

Aldean responded in the comments on Instagram: “It was my honor and your stamp of approval means everything. Thank you [Toby Keith] Covel Family.’” Aldean released his cover on Friday (May 17), remembering it as “a song that I’ve played ever since I started playing clubs as a teenager. Thank you Toby for the mark you left on country music, and thank you to his family for letting me be a part of this.”

Keith “passed peacefully last night on Feb. 5 surrounded by his family,” following a years-long battle with stomach cancer that he fought “with grace and courage,” reads a statement posted to his social media pages in the early morning hours of February 6. He was 62. Keith’s wife, Tricia Lucus, and three children — son, Stelen Keith Covel, and daughters Krystal Keith and Shelly Covel Rowland — attended the 59th ACM Awards and watched Aldean’s tribute.

Other artists who took the stage throughout the evening included Post MaloneParker McCollumKelsea Ballerini and Noah KahanNate Smith and Avril Lavigne; husband-and-wife duo Blake Shelton and Gwen StefaniJason AldeanKane BrownJelly RollCody JohnsonMiranda LambertThomas RhettChris Stapleton and Lainey Wilson. McEntire closed the show with her new song “I Can’t,” and confirmed she’ll host the ACM Awards again during the show’s milestone 60th year in 2025.

Toby KeithJason Aldean
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