Reba McEntire Honors Toby Keith As She Prepares To Sing National Anthem At Super Bowl
Source YouTube: TODAY With Hoda & Jenna, AXS TV
The country music star Reba McEntire is currently preparing to perform the national anthem for millions of people before the Super Bowl on Sunday. Despite this, McEntire still took some time to pay tribute to the legendary country music star Toby Keith, who died earlier this week at the age of 62 after a battle with stomach cancer.
McEntire Honors Keith
Keith and McEntire were both from Oklahoma, and after his death was announced, she recalled her days of touring with him.
“We’re going to miss him so much, not only as a friend but a fellow performer and person in the music business and from Oklahoma,” McEntire, 68, told People Magazine. “But he doesn’t have to fight anymore, and he doesn’t have to hurt anymore.”
This was a reference to Keith’s valiant battle with stomach cancer, which he was diagnosed with in the fall of 2021.
“I hope one day to get to see him up in Heaven,” she continued. “Thank God we have his wonderful music to keep us company, even though he’s not here on earth with us.”
McEntire has never forgotten going on tour with Keith throughout the mid-1990s.
“That was a lot of fun,” she remembered. “Toby was more of the renegade, the outlaw type, and I’m the Little Miss Goody Two-Shoes, and so it was 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 that was,” McEntire added. “Toby Keith was a distinctive vocalist, a stylist, that you knew exactly who he was. So, that’s a wonderful trait to have.”
McEntire concluded by referencing Keith’s 2011 hit song “Red Solo Cup,” saying, “He and I do have that in common — I do love me 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 on Tuesday morning that he had tragically died the night before.
“Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on Feb. 5 surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage,” they said in a statement. “Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”
In the days since his death, other tributes have been pouring in for Keith as well.
“Toby Keith was a patriot, you know, and he did not care who had a problem with it,” the 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 on social media. “He was a true Patriot, a first class singer/songwriter, and a bigger than life kind of guy. He will be greatly missed.”
Blake Shelton, whose career was helped by Keith decades ago, honored Keith as well.
”Even though I knew about your battle these last few months I still 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, she’s gearing up to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Sunday.
“I’ve been singing the National Anthem in the shower [and] when we get in the car,” McEntire told People, referencing 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 real good right now, so I’m alright,’” she continued, adding that it “helps” to “know that everybody’s gonna be singing it with me” at Allegiant Stadium.
“If I know they’re singing along, and they’re remembering and having fun too, that’s easier on me, but just to be prepared when you walk out there,” she explained.
Related: Reba McEntire Scores Honor Of Performing National Anthem At Super Bowl – ‘Oh My Gosh!’
McEntire went on to say that she is “honored beyond words” to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl for the first time.
“I get to sing a very special song for all Americans, people all around the world, who have really worked so hard for our freedom and to give us peace,” she gushed. “It’s not about me — I’m the representation of this song, and I’m just honored to get to sing it. It’s a good one. I’ve been doing it for 50 years, and I’m really proud to get 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 her Super Bowl preparations to pay tribute for him. Please join us in saying a prayer for McEntire and Keith’s other loved ones during this difficult time.
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An Ivy leaguer, proud conservative millennial, history lover, writer, and lifelong New Englander, James specializes in the intersection of… More about James Conrad