Big Dog Daddy’s Final Act: Remembering Toby Keith’s Last Televised Set

Country star Toby Keith passed away in his sleep on February 5, 2024 after a several-years-long battle with stomach cancer. He was 62.

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Keith’s family, friends, and fans were heartbroken when the news of his death first came out. Tributes began pouring out from fellow artists, from Dolly Parton to Jelly Roll to Carrie Underwood. It was a sad day, indeed. And it made his very last televised performance all the more special.

Toby Keith’s Last Televised Performance

Just mere months before Toby Keith passed away, he delivered what would be his very last televised performance at the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards. At the ceremony, Keith delivered a beautiful but haunting solo rendition of his song “Don’t Let The Old Man In”.

During the performance, Keith played his acoustic guitar and sang in his noteworthy baritone voice, which he became well-known for throughout his career. Despite being ill, he gave the performance his all.

“Don’t Let The Old Man In” was an apt but dark choice; the song is about the fears and tribulations of aging, as well as appreciating what one has later on in life. It was almost as if Keith knew this would likely be his last time on stage in front of cameras. His wife, Tricia Lucus, could be seen teary-eyed in the audience as Keith finished the song.

In addition to his gripping last performance of “Don’t Let The Old Man In”, Toby Keith also accepted the Country Music Icon Award during the ceremony. Following a respectful film montage of Keith’s career past, fellow country star Blake Shelton presented Keith with the award. The Country Music Icon Award is typically awarded to an artist in the country music industry who has committed to humanitarian and entrepreneurial efforts.

“I want to thank the almighty for allowing me to be here tonight,” Keith said after Shelton handed him the award. “You’ve been riding shotgun with me for a little while.”

RIP, Toby Keith.

Photo by Mickey Bernal/NBC

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