Toby Keith and Tricia Lucus were married for nearly 40 years before his death.
The twosome tied the knot in 1984. Lucus was by Keith’s side when he was playing local gigs before scoring his big break.
“Dozens of people told Tricia, ‘You need to go tell your old man to get a real job,’” Keith later recalled to Country Weekly. “It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, ‘He’s good enough at music that I’ve got to let him try. And it’ll be a great shot for both of us if he can make it work.’”
More than 35 years into their marriage, Keith announced in June 2022 that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer six months prior. “So far, so good,” he wrote in an Instagram statement. “I need time to breathe, recover and relax. I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
One year later, Keith shared an update as he continued his treatment. “I’m feeling pretty good,” he told The Oklahoman, noting that he’d seen a “positive trend” in his health. “You never know with cancer, so you have to prepare.”
He added at the time that he hoped to be “out on the road” in due time. “I’ve got more wind,” he said. “And I’m thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours. … I’m ready.”
Scroll down for a look back at Keith’s relationship with Lucus through the years:
The couple met while Keith was working as an oil field worker after graduating high school and performing with a group called the Easy Money Band at a local bar.
After three years of dating, the twosome tied the knot. Following their wedding, Keith adopted Lucus’ eldest daughter, Shelley Covel Rowland, whom she welcomed in 1980.
Keith and Lucus welcomed their first child together, daughter Krystal.
Lucus opened up to People about how Keith always made her feel special. “Most people think he is just the most romantic person on the planet,” she gushed. “He has his moments of charm. It is nice to get a bouquet of flowers, but I’ve told him, ‘Save the money. Roses die in five to seven days. Buy me an outfit or take me to dinner.’”
The twosome welcomed their son, Stelen.
Keith and his wife launched the Toby Keith Foundation with the mission to “encourage the health and happiness of pediatric cancer patients and to support,” per the charity’s website.
Keith’s family was by his side in Nashville while he was honored with the BMI Icon Award. He revealed his stomach cancer diagnosis that same year.
The couple celebrated 39 years of marriage. “Happy anniversary to Toby and Tricia! Show them some love in the comments,” read the caption of an Instagram post shared via Keith’s account.
Keith died at age 62. “Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family” read a statement shared via the musician’s social media accounts. “He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”