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Toby Keith's grieving son shares photo with 'hero' dad alongside heartbreaking tribute following his death

The country music singer died at the age of 62

Toby Keith, wife Tricia Covel, and son Stelen Covel
Hannah Hargrave
US Deputy Editor
February 9, 2024
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Toby Keith's son, Stelen Covel, paid his respects to his beloved father on Instagram on Thursday when he opened up about his famous dad days after his death at 62

Stelen took to Instagram with a throwback snapshot from his childhood in which he was playing in a pool with the country music singer. 

Toby - who died on February 5 after a battle with stomach cancer - sported a goatee and his hair was slicked back from the water as he taught his son to swim. 

WATCH: Music stars gone too soon

The image was accompanied by an emotional tribute giving insight into Toby's "strong" personality.

"You are the strongest man I have ever known," Stelen wrote: "A fighter. A true titan of your industry. My guiding star. My coach. My hero. An embodiment of the American Spirit."

View post on Instagram

He continued: "You are a man whose strength, prowess, and talent could only be trumped by his ability to be a father and husband.

"Your impact is forever stamped on the world and on millions of people, yet not one person knew you the way I did. You were my biggest champion and the guiding light in my darkest times. The best mentor a man could ask for.

Toby Keith surrounded by his family back in December
Toby Keith surrounded by his family - including his son Stelen - back in December

"You held a passion that was greater than mountains and it radiates through every lyric and chord. In the everlasting echo from the legacy of your music, you leave me strength and faith to lean on in the silence that follows.

"You truly did it your way, from the starting gates to the finish line, and never apologized for it. The only thing I truly ever wanted in life was to make you proud. I promise I will continue to make you proud."

Toby Keiths son's final photo online with his beloved dad
Toby Keith's son's final photo online with his beloved dad

He concluded: "It’s not goodbye forever; it’s just goodbye for now."

Stelen is an entrepreneur who co-owns several businesses. He married the love of his life, Haley Covel in Las Vegas shortly before Toby announced his cancer diagnosis. 

The 26-year-old is Toby's youngest son, and he was also a father to two daughters with his wife Tricia Lucas. 

Toby Keith and Trisha Lucas at the 2023 People's Choice Country Awards
Toby and wife Trisha at the 2023 People's Choice Country Awards

Toby's journey to parenthood began with the adoption of Tricia's daughter, Shelley, 43, following their marriage in 1984. 

The couple then welcomed Krystal, 38, in 1985 and Stelen in 1997.

His family announced Toby's passing with a heartfelt statement that read:  "Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time."

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