Watch Stephen Colbert's moving Toby Keith tribute on the Late Show: 'Thank you, Big Dog'

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The country world is in mourning following the death of one of its greats, Toby Keith.

Keith died on Monday at the age of 62 after a battle with stomach cancer. The feelings of loss however go beyond fellow country music performers, with many other influential figures like first lady Jill Biden paying their respects to the late "Should've Been A Cowboy" singer.

Stephen Colbert, a self-admitted unlikely friend to Keith, dedicated an emotional tribute Tuesday during "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert." The talk show host said he was shocked and saddened upon hearing of Keith's death.

Colbert told the story of how the two first met and hit it off during an episode of the Colbert Report, his previous show on Comedy Central. Following the taping of the episode, Colbert said the two bumped each other and what Toby said next was something that would stick with Colbert for years to come.

"'Hey man, you do a great job,'" said Colbert in his best Toby Keith impression. "'Whatever the f*** it is you do.'"

The compliment resonated so much with Colbert that one of his writers stitched the phrase onto a pillow.

"Toby was a great performer, unapologetically patriotic, opiniated, brash, often controversial, but resonating with legions of fans by writing their lives in a very real and entertaining way," said Colbert.

"So we had him on a lot — he was always fun," he added.

Throughout his career, Keith was often criticized for his unspoken attitude and politics. So much so that it sparked a feud between him and Natalie Maines of the Chicks following the release of his song, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (the Angry American)."

Colbert said however, that Keith taught him to not to pass judgement onto others and to keep an open eye as to who someone really is. Keith was always surprising others he said.

"You think you would know who Toby Keith was and then you're watching Obama's Nobel acceptance speech and there's Toby Keith giving him a standing ovation! Toby!" he exclaimed. "What're you doing this time?!"

Colbert said that during a time when so many are divided and angrier with each other than ever before, he would like to extend an invitation to grieve Keith's loss, together.

"I do not care who you, I will meet you at this place. I will meet you at being broken hearted that Toby Keith is gone," he said. "Thank you, Big Dog."

Watch Stephen Colbert's tribute to Toby Keith on the Late Show

Diana Leyva covers trending news and service for The Tennessean. Contact her at or follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter at @_leyvadiana

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Watch Stephen Colbert's tribute to Toby Keith, his unlikely friend