The 2024 CMT Music Awards gave a good bit of air time to a tribute to the late Toby Keith during the show on Sunday (April 7).

While Keith's family watched from the audience in tears, Brooks & Dunn, Sammy Hagar and Lainey Wilson each took the stage to sing a hit from Keith's extensive catalog of music.

Former MLB baseball pitcher Roger Clemens — an old pal of the country veteran — walked onto the stage to share a few memories of his buddy. Then, he introduced Brooks & Dunn to kick off a heartfelt tribute.

Brooks & Dunn Cover Toby Keith's "Should've Been a Cowboy"

Country music duo Brooks & Dunn opened the tribute with a cover of Keith's 1993 hit "Should've Been a Cowboy." The pair strummed their guitars, belting out the song as the arena sang and clapped along.

Ronnie Dunn carried out the first verse, while Kix Brooks took over on the second. As the camera panned across the audience, just about everyone in the crowd had a red Solo cup in hand.

Sammy Hagar Covers "I Love This Bar"

Hagar was next on the stage singing Toby Keith's 2003 smash hit "I Love This Bar."

A close friend of Keith's, the rocker was worried he would be too emotional to get through the song. However, he kept his energy and spirits high throughout his performance, decked out in white pants, sneaker and a red blazer.

He revealed a Toby-themed University Oklahoma shirt at the end.

Lainey Wilson Covers Toby Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?!"

Wilson was the last to step out onto the 2024 CMT Music Awards stage to sing Keith's 1999 track "How Do You Like Me Now?!" She added her signature country twang as she kept the crowd on their feet, raising their cups and signing along.

Each set was backed by Keith's full band. Behind them was a large digital board that displayed dozens of television screens. On each was an old clip or music video of the "Red Solo Cup" singer.

The tribute left Keith's children, Shelley, Stelen and Krystal, in tears.

How Did Toby Keith Die?

Keith died on Feb. 5, 2024 after a lengthy battle with stomach cancer. He announced his diagnosis in 2021 before taking time away from the spotlight to rest and take care of himself.

He shared with Taste of Country just a few months before his death that he was looking forward to touring again.

The "American Soldier" will be inducted posthumously into the Country Music Hall of Fame this October.

Toby Keith's Sweetest Photos With His Wife, Tricia Lucus

In 1984, Toby Keith married his love Tricia Lucus after three years of dating, and the couple remained together for the rest of his life. Over the years, they raised three children together. Keith adopted Tricia's daughter Shelley, who was born from a previous relationship, and they welcomed a daughter named Krystal and a son named Stelen. Take a look back at the couple's sweetest moments together through the years.

Gallery Credit: Carena Liptak

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