The Country music world is mourning the loss of Toby Keith to stomach cancer at the age of 62, but did you know that Rockford, Illinois played a major role in his rise to stardom?

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Favorite Toby Keith Memories

I have worked in the Country music industry for about 24 years now, and I was blessed to meet Toby Keith several different times throughout my career. He was a big man with a big personality, one hell of an awesome performer, and his passing is a huge loss for Country music. This is a pic from one of his shows in Rockford in the early 2000s...

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

Toby Keith played several shows in Rockford, Illinois throughout his career, and judging by these comments on Facebook, he provided life long memories for several people in this community;

When he came to Rockford he honored a friend of mine who was tragically killed while serving our country. When he met my friend’s mom backstage, he moved her to the front row for the concert and wore my friend’s dog tags while he sang American Soldier. I’ll never forget that act of kindness. RIP Toby.

(I remember that concert moment vividly and that it gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my powerful!)

Favorite memory was as 9/11was going on Courtesy of the Red White and Blue came out. It united all Americans regardless of differences and at that time I think any American would have fought for this country. We were shaken to the core and pissed off. That song united us. RIP

(I 100 percent agree. Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue, aka, The Angry American, is by FAR my favorite Toby Keith song.)

Saw him several times but my favorite was at Tinley Park in 2010 or 2011. He came on stage in the back of a Ford truck with the Stanley Cup that had just been won. The place went nuts. It was so awesome. He was such a raw musician sometimes but he so awesome.

(Now I'm super sad I missed this concert!)

R.I.P.!!!! Met him at Peak Fitness on State about 20 years ago. The whole band came and the played Basketball for an Hour or 2. Left some Tickets at the desk for his show that Night at the Metro Center. Cool Guy down to earth.

I'm sure every long time Country music lover has been to a Toby Keith show before and has their own set of fav concert memories, BUT many don't know that Rockford, Illinois played a big role in his career.

Toby Keith Songs About America
Getty Images

Toby Keith's Original Fan Club Started in Rockford, Illinois

When Toby Keith was becoming a Country music superstar I remember being told that his original fan club was started by people in Rockford, Illinois. Seriously! ( I even met two ladies that were a part of it at a meet and greet in Rockford once!)

I do not know when, or even if, Toby Keith's people took over control of the fan club, but here's the website I found to prove its existence...

How cool is that? Were you ever a member of the Rockford original Toby Keith fan club? Send us an app message and tell us more!

Fly high, Toby Keith, and thanks for all the awesome memories. We sure will miss you!

Rockford's New Country Q98.5  logo
Get our free mobile app

RELATED: Watch Toby Keith's Final TV Performance

RELATED: Country Music Stars Pay Tribute to Toby Keith

See 50 Essential 90s Country Songs

Crazy Country Facts From the Year You Were Born

Stacker compiled a list of noteworthy milestones from each year of country music history, using a variety of news articles, historical resources, and more.

Gallery Credit: Abby Monteil

More From Rockford's New Country Q98.5