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Who was Toby Keith and who were his wife and children?

Toby Keith, a hit country crafter of pro-American anthems who both riled up critics and was loved by millions of fans, has died at age 62.

The singer-songwriter “passed peacefully” on Monday night, his family shared in a statement posted on social media. Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021.

“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on Feb. 5 surrounded by his family, the statement read. “He fought his fight with grace and courage.”

“Please respect the privacy of his family at this time,” the message concluded.

Toby Keith
Toby Keith performs onstage in Austin in October 2021. Photot Erika Goldring/WireImage

Who was Toby Keith?

Born in Clinton, Oklahoma, on July 8, 1961, Toby Keith fell in love with music at an early age, after his grandmother gave him a guitar when he was 8.

According to a 2001 PEOPLE profile, he began writing music as a teen, inspired by Willie Nelson and the Eagles, among others.

He first went into what he called “typical roughneck stuff” following high school graduation in 1979, working in the Oklahoma oil fields and playing local bars with his band Easy Money at night.

But once the oil fields “went bust,” as he recalled, “I started concentrating on my music.” He began touring more regionally with his band and in 1993, his self-titled debut album went platinum, with his single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” becoming a certified hit.

In 2005, Toby founded the label Show Dog-Universal Music which his daughter Krystal is signed to.

Over the span of his successful career, Toby released 19 studio albums and has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards from 1998 to 2011.

Additionally, he had taken home three CMA Awards and 12 Academy of Country Music Awards.

About Toby Keith wife Tricia Lucus

Toby Keith and Tricia Lucus
Toby Keith and Tricia Lucus attend the Warner Bros. Pictures world premiere of “The Mule” on December 10, 2018 in Westwood, California. Michael Tran/FilmMagic

After graduating from high school in 1979, Keith took a job as an oil field worker, just like his father, doing “typical roughneck stuff” and making $50,000 per year.

Keith also played and sang at local bars with his band called the Easy Money Band, which performed Alabama-style country-rock when he wasn’t working. It was during this time that he met Lucus, who was working as an oil company secretary at the time.

“I was 19 and he was 20,” she told PEOPLE in 2001. “He was just one of those larger-than-life guys, full of confidence.”

The couple dated for three years before they decided to get married in 1984.

Keith celebrated the couple’s 39th wedding anniversary on Instagram in 2023, sharing an old photo of the couple to commemorate the special day.

About Tricia Lucus and Toby Keith Children

Toby Keith was one of country music’s biggest stars, but he was also a doting father to three children. He had three children with his wife, Tricia Lucus. They are:

Shelley Covel Rowland

Toby Keith kids
Shelley Covel Rowland (left) with Toby Keith, Tricia Lucas, and Krystal Keith in 2015 (Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Swingdish)

Shelley Covel Rowland is Keith and Tricia’s oldest daughter. She was born to Tricia in 1980 from a previous relationship and Keith adopted her and raised her as his own once he became romantically involved with Tricia years later.

Although Shelley has kept her life as private as possible over the years, she did make a rare public appearance with her parents at a a SwingDish launch event in Las Vegas, NV in 2015. She went on to get married and have two children, making Toby a grandfather, according to Country Fancast.

Krystal Keith

Toby Keith and Krystal Keith
Toby Keith and Krystal Keith at the 38th Annual Country Music Awards (Photo: R. Diamond/WireImage)

Krystal Keith is Toby and Tricia’s second oldest daughter. She was born in 1985, the year after her parents got married. Like her dad, whose real last name is Covel, she decided to go with the stage last name of Keith, when in the public eye.

Unlike her older sister, she’s been in the spotlight with her singing talents. She first got major attention for her singing when she sang “Mockingbird,” which was on her dad’s Greatest Hits 2 album in 2004. She also joined him on stage at the 2004 CMAs to sing the epic tune.

Krystal graduated from the University of Oklahoma and then signed a record deal with Show Dog-Universal Music. She went on to release various EPs and the 2013 album Whiskey & Lace. She wrote one of her most popular songs, “Daddy Dance with Me,” about Toby and performed it on her wedding day when she married Andrew Robert Sandubrae in 2010.

After saying “I do,” she and Andrew welcomed two daughters, including Hensley Jack Sandubrae, who was born in 2015, and Kirby Kaye Sandubrae, who was born in 2019. She often shares memorable moments with her family, in photos and videos on Instagram.

Stelen Keith Covel

Stelen Keith Covel is Toby and Tricia’s only son. He was born in 1997 and is an investor who works in venture management, according to his Instagram.

In addition to a having a successful career, he has a loving marriage. He married his girlfriend Haley, in Boulder City in 2021 and he often shares photos with her on social media.

One of his first posts included a photo of him as a kid with Toby. “Tell me where I get it from. Man they always wonder who, then they meet my pops and tell him Stelen’s just another you,” he wrote alongside it.

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Simon Kabutey
Simon Kabutey
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