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Toby Keith’s kids post emotional message following dad’s death: ‘He was my hero’

After the country icon's death on Feb. 5, his youngest children shared emotional tributes honoring their late father on social media.
/ Source: TODAY

Toby Keith’s children are remembering their father as a “hero” on social media.

The country singer died on Feb. 5 surrounded by his family, according to a post on the his official Instagram page.

“He fought his fight with grace and courage,” the message read. “Please respect the privacy of his family at this time.”

Toby Keith, who was 62, shared three children with his wife, Tricia Lucus: Shelley Covel Rowland, Krystal Keith, and Stelen Keith Covel.

In the days that followed his death, his children paid homage to their late father with touching sentiments on social media.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, Stelen posted a childhood throwback photo on Instagram of him and his father in the pool. In the caption, he penned an emotional tribute to the country singer, writing in part, “You are the strongest man I have ever known.”

“A fighter. A true titan of your industry,” he continued. “My guiding star. My coach. My hero. An embodiment of the American Spirit.”

Stelen recognized his father as a talented musician, but celebrated him as a “father and husband” above all.

“Your impact is forever stamped on the world and on millions of people, yet not one person knew you the way I did,” he added. “You were my biggest champion and the guiding light in my darkest times.”

He called his father the “best mentor a man could ask for,” noting, “You held a passion that was greater than mountains and it radiates through every lyric and chord.”

Stelen concluded his post on a sentimental note, writing, “The only thing I truly ever wanted in life was to make you proud. I promise I will continue to make you proud.”

Meanwhile, Krystal said she was “shattered” following her father's death in an Instagram post on Friday, Feb. 9.

In the first slide of her slideshow post, the two are seen standing on a stage with their fingers pointing toward the sky. That photo was followed by several more moments, including many snaps of Toby Keith with his grandchildren. 

“As great as he was in his career, he was so much greater as a dad and a husband and a Pop Pop,” she wrote. “He was my hero.”

Krystal expressed how “lucky” she felt to have her father by her side during the milestone moments of her life, including walking her down the aisle at her wedding and getting a chance to meet his grandchildren.

“I am blessed that I got to spend years traveling on the road and singing on stage with him,” she added. “That I have mountains of video footage and endless tracks of music to watch him on and hear his voice with. I’m lucky I got to say goodbye and tell him what he meant to me.”

She also acknowledged the outpouring of tributes and love for her father in the wake of his death, writing, “He was the world’s. He is the gift that we were, as a family, able to offer the world and he did not squander our sacrifice of time with him.”

“He lived a hundred lives of accomplishments and impact in peoples lives,” she said. “There is so much he did for people that no one knew about, even us. He didn’t want recognition for doing good deeds, he just did them because his heart led him to or someone needed him to.”

Krystal ended her caption with the promise to “forever honor” her father after his death.

Here’s what to know about Toby Keith’s kids.

Shelley Covel Rowland

Swingdish Launch Event & SS16 Collection Release
Shelley Rowland, Toby Keith, Tricia Lucus and Krystal Keith attend the SwingDish launch event at The Country Club at Wynn Las Vegas on Aug. 18, 2015.Isaac Brekken / Getty Images

Shelley Covel Rowland, 44, is Keith’s oldest daughter. Rowland was Lucus' daughter from a previous relationship, and Keith reportedly adopted her after he married Lucus.

Rowland does not share much about her life on social media, but she did make a public appearance with her family in 2015.

She, her mom and her sister, Krystal Keith, joined the country singer at a launch event for  SwingDish in Las Vegas in August 2015. 

Krystal Keith

The 38th Annual CMA Awards - Show
Toby Keith and his daughter Krystal on stage at the CMA Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House Nov. 9, 2004, in Nashville. Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Krystal Keith, 38, is Toby Keith and Tricia Lucus’ younger daughter.

She followed in her dad’s musical footsteps, and they memorably sang on stage together at the 2004 CMA Awards, performing his hit song from that year, “Mockingbird.”

“Growing up in and around the industry, I had a love for music and just knew that someday, this is what I would pursue,” Krystal Keith told iHeart Country in 2018.

Describing her own style, Krystal said that while her dad had “a really heavy influence” on her, she also draws inspiration from Patsy Cline, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and other female country legends.

In recent years, Krystal's musical career took a backseat as she focused on raising her children. She shares two daughters with her husband, Andrew Sandubrae.

“She’s raising beautiful babies. I mean, she’s a mother,” Toby Keith said in a 2017 video shared by Taste of Country. “She loves to sing, but she loves being a mother and she’s so busy with those kids. They are constantly doing something … But I heard her sing at an event. She’s still got the pipes.”

Stelen Keith CovelStelen Keith Covel, 27, is the only son of Toby Keith and Tricia Lucus.

Covel married his wife, Haley Covel, in November 2021, according to a post on his Instagram page celebrating their wedding anniversary.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a real estate investor who has been the co-owner or director of several ventures, including the restaurants 405 Burger Bar, Hollywood Corners and Tequila Chulos.

In 2014, Covel shared a throwback pic on Instagram of him as a little boy with his dad.

“Tell me where I get it from. Man they always wonder who, then they meet my pops and tell him Stelen’s just another you,” he wrote in the caption.