Toby Keith's family wanted to make sure their feelings about Jason Aldean's performance at the 2024 ACM Awards were clear.

The singer's wife Tricia and his three kids Shelley, Krystal and Stelen were in the audience to see Aldean perform a toned-down version of "Should've Been a Cowboy," Keith's first hit single. Tears streamed down their faces as the song closed.

  • Aldean and Keith were good friends, with the legend surprising the younger singer's fans with an appearance in 2023.
  • Keith died on Feb. 5 after battling stomach cancer.
  • He was previously honored at the CMT Music Awards, with his children in attendance.

Related: 2024 ACM Awards Winners: Full List

This was the first time Tricia Covel was present for a posthumous tribute to her husband of nearly 40 years. Afterward, a note was pushed on social media that showed nothing but appreciation to Aldean.

"The Covel family would like to thank Jason Aldean for the wonderfully touching performance at the ACM Awards tonight," it reads. "It was the perfect tribute to Toby Keith."

Toby Keith's full name is Toby Keith Covel.

The last time country fans saw Keith's wife was at the 2023 People's Choice Country Awards when her husband performed "Don't Let the Old Man In." It'd end up being his final television performance, and the gravity of the moment hit fans and family. Both the singer and his wife looked very emotional during the performance.

Later, Keith would tell Taste of Country that he'd suffered a small setback the week of that performance and almost canceled. He was spirited and optimistic in the months that followed, making his death in February even more surprising.

2024 ACM Awards Live Performances

The 2024 ACM Awards was highlighted by memorable performances from Lainey Wilson, Jason Aldean and Chris Stapleton who brought pop superstar Dua Lipa on stage to perform a song from his Album of the Year, Higher. Here is a look at some of the best images from the night's performances.

Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll