Toby Keith at the 2023 People's Choice Country Awards held at The Grand Ole Opry House on September 28, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tammie Arroyo/Variety via Getty Images

Toby Keith's Son Posts Moving Tribute: 'The Best Mentor a Man Could Ask For'

"I love you, cowboy."

On Thursday (Feb. 9) Toby Keith's youngest child, 26-year-old Stelen Covel, paid tribute to his dad with an Instagram post. A throwback photo of Keith and his son playing in a swimming pool was paired with a lengthy caption..

'You are the strongest man I have ever known," began Covel's post. "A fighter. A true titan of your industry. My guiding star. My coach. My hero.
An embodiment of the American Spirit. 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," he continued. "You were my biggest champion and the guiding light in my darkest times."

Covel then explained why his dad was "the best mentor a man could ask for."

"You held a passion that was greater than mountains and it radiates through every lyric and chord," he wrote. "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,' the post ended. "I promise I will continue to make you proud. It's not goodbye forever; it's just goodbye for now. I love you, cowboy."

Covel's wife since 2021, Hailey, post her own Keith tribute on Instagram.

"I'll never have the right words to say," she wrote. "Toby was larger than life at home and on stage. It's a complete honor to be his daughter-in-law," she wrote. "He took me in as his own and I'll be forever grateful for that. He touched the lives of so many and I'm blessed to be one of those."

Keith died on Monday (Feb. 5). He's survived by his wife, Tricia, as well as his three kids: Stelen and his older sisters Shelly and Krystal.

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