Reba McEntire honors Toby Keith as she prepares to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl


Reba McEntire Toby Keith
YouTube Source: TODAY With Hoda and Jenna, AXS TV

Country music star Reba McEntire is preparing to perform the national anthem in front of millions before Sunday’s Super Bowl. Despite this, McEntire still took time to pay tribute to legendary country music star Toby Keith, who died earlier this week at age 62 after a battle with stomach cancer.

McEntire honors Keith

Keith and McEntire were both from Oklahoma, and after the announcement of his death, she reminisced about the days she toured with him.

“We will miss him dearly, not only as a friend but as a fellow artist and person in the music business and in Oklahoma,” McEntire, 68, told People Magazine. “But he doesn’t have to fight anymore and he doesn’t have to suffer anymore.”

This was a reference to Keith’s courageous battle with stomach cancer, which he was diagnosed with in the fall of 2021.

“I hope one day I get to see him up there in Heaven,” he continued. “Thank God we have his wonderful music to keep us company, even if he is not here on earth with us.”

McEntire never forgot touring with Keith throughout the mid-1990s.

“It was a lot of fun,” he recalled. “Toby was more of a renegade, outlaw type, whereas I’m little Miss Goody Two-Shoes, so they were kind of like two ends of the spectrum.”

“He was a great writer, a great singer. When Toby came on the radio, you knew who he was,” McEntire added. “Toby Keith was a distinctive singer, a stylist, you knew exactly who he was. So, he’s a wonderful trait to have.

McEntire concluded by referencing Keith’s 2011 hit song “Red Solo Cup,” saying, “He and I have this in common: I like a Solo Cup.”

Related: Brett Favre Reveals Sad Details About Toby Keith’s Final Days: ‘He Was Just Tired’

Tributes pour in for Keith

Keith’s family announced Tuesday morning that he had tragically died the night before.

“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night, February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his battle with grace and courage,” they said in a statement. “Please respect his family’s privacy at this time.”

In the days following his death, other tributes have also poured in for Keith.

“Toby Keith was a patriot, you know, and he didn’t care who had a problem with it,” country music star John Rich told Fox News.

“Waking up to the terrible news that our friend and legend @tobykeith has passed away from cancer,” Rich later added means of social communication. “He was a true patriot, a first-class songwriter and a great guy. We will miss him greatly.”

Blake Shelton, whose career was helped by Keith decades ago, also honored Keith.

“Even though I knew about your struggle these past few months, I never imagined this day,” he said, according to NBC News. “Anyone who knew you knows what I mean. You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you, brother, for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.”

McEntire’s Super Bowl preparations

As for McEntire, he’s preparing to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday.

“I sang the national anthem in the shower [and] when we get in the car,” McEntire told People, referring to car rides with her boyfriend Rex Linn, who she describes as a “huge football fan.”

“He’ll say, ‘OK, sing it one more time.’ I said, ‘I think I know the words right now, so I’m good,'” she continued, adding that she “helps” to “know that everyone’s going to sing it with me” at Allegiant Stadium.

“If I know they’re singing, and they remember and have fun too, it’s easier for me, but I just have to be prepared when I go out,” he explained.

Related: Reba McEntire Gets Honor of Performing National Anthem at Super Bowl – “Oh My God!”

McEntire went on to say she was “honored beyond words” to perform the national anthem for the first time at the Super Bowl.

“I get to sing a very special song for all the Americans, the people around the world, who have really worked so hard for our freedom and to give us peace,” he exclaimed. “It’s not about me: I am the representation of this song and I’m just honored to be able to sing it. It’s nice. I’ve been doing it for 50 years and I’m really proud to be able to sing it.

This is obviously an extremely busy time for McEntire, so it says a lot about her love for Keith that she took time away from Super Bowl preparations to pay tribute to him. Please join us in saying a prayer for McEntire and Keith’s other loved ones during this difficult time.

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