A sad way to start the day.

I turned on my laptop at 3:20 this morning to get the latest news and the first thing that I saw was that Toby Keith had succumbed to stomach cancer at age 62.

When I got to work, I saw others on my Facebook page who had just woken up and were finding out too. Most made comments. All were favorable. He was obviously very popular, not just for his hits but for how pro-America he was.

Get our free mobile app

"American Soldier" and "Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue" are among our most requested songs. People loved that he not only loved the good ol' USA, he wrote and sang about it with great pride. Most people don't realize that he wrote most of his own hits. I saw Sammy Hagar interview Toby at his Oklahoma ranch. Toby said that he had a closet full of awards, but the one he coveted the most was the one for being a songwriter.

Some things you might not know.

Toby also owned a record label and was instrumental in helping Randy Houser, Trace Adkins, and Joe Nichols. He was also instrumental in helping Taylor Swift sign her first record deal with Big Machine Records.

Most folks didn't realize it at the time, but he told us goodbye when he sang "Don't Let The Old Man In" at the People's Choice Country Awards. I've had several people message me this morning saying that they have tears in their eyes now when they hear it.

I got my picture taken with him when he was here for one of our free concerts in the mid-90s but I never got to meet him.

You'll be hearing more of his songs between 5 and 10 for a while on our station.

Toby Keith Dies: Jason Aldean, Luke Combs + More Stars React

Toby Keith died at the age of 62 on Monday (Feb. 5) after a battle with stomach cancer. His death left the country music community mourning one of its most influential figures and talented songwriters. Here are some of the tributes and memories artists shared as they grieved Keith's passing.

Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

More From Cat Country 102.9