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Toby Keith earned Country Music Hall of Fame vote 1 day after death

Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern says she's sad to have missed the opportunity to inform the country star of the honor.
Toby Keith earned Country Music Hall of Fame vote 1 day after death
Posted at 7:03 AM, Mar 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-19 09:03:34-04

Country star Toby Keith, who died last month, is heading to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

In a ceremony announcing the inductees on Monday, Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern said results came in that Keith had been elected in the Modern Era category just hours after the world learned of his passing.

“We woke up that morning to the heartbreaking news that our friend Toby Keith had lost his long battle with stomach cancer,” Trahern said.

“My heart sank,” she said, “knowing that we missed the chance to inform Toby while he was still with us. But I have no doubt that he is smiling down on us, knowing that he’ll always be, — quote —  ‘as good as he once was.’”

Trahern explained that election rules do not allow a person to be elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the year of their death, but said that rule did not apply to Keith, who had already been selected prior to his passing. Voting was closed on Feb. 2 and official results were tallied by Feb. 6,  a day after the singer passed away.

The other inductees announced Monday were singer John Anderson and guitarist James Burton.

Keith died on Feb. 5 at the age of 62. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021, and shared the news publicly in June 2022.

Keith has produced 32 No. 1-ranked songs, and 42 songs that have appeared in the Top 10 of Billboard's country music chart. 

He is perhaps best known for his 1993 single "Should've Been a Cowboy." 

SEE MORE: After Toby Keith's death, doctors say stomach cancer is easy to miss

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