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Tim McGraw Honors Toby Keith with 'Live Like You Were Dying' Tribute Performance in Florida: 'A Great Artist'

McGraw, 56, paid an emotional tribute onstage to the late singer who died Monday

<p> Karwai Tang/WireImage;  Gary Gershoff/Getty</p> Tim McGraw; Toby Keith

Karwai Tang/WireImage; Gary Gershoff/Getty

Tim McGraw; Toby Keith

Tim McGraw is honoring Toby Keith on the stage.

The country star, 56, gave an emotional performance in tribute to the late singer, who died Monday, during his concert at Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Orlando, Florida, this week.

On Friday, McGraw posted a video posted on Instagram of the special moment, which showed him as he stood onstage and spoke to fans in the crowd on Thursday night about the close relationship he had with Keith over the years.

“Toby and I got to know each other pretty well early in our career.,” McGraw began. “We spent a lot of time hanging out on the bus, played some shows together … having to guard him in basketball. It wasn’t a lot of fun because he beat the s--- out of you,” he joked.

<p>Mike Lawrie/WireImage</p> Tim McGraw performs in April 2023

Mike Lawrie/WireImage

Tim McGraw performs in April 2023

Related: Tim McGraw Pays Tribute to Late 'Maverick' Toby Keith: 'He Did Things His Way, on His Terms'

“But he was a really, really good guy, a great artist and I always respected how he did things his way and didn't care what anybody thought,” McGraw continued. “So bear with me if I don't get through it, you guys help me out, but I want to dedicate this song to Toby and his family.”

The country singer then performed his 2015 hit song “Live Like You Were Dying” in honor of Keith as many audience members at the venue joined in.

“Thanx Hollywood FL for helping me pay tribute to @tobykeith last night,” McGraw added in the caption. “Meant so much @hardrockholly.”

<p>Katherine Bomboy/NBC via Getty Images</p> Toby Keith performing in September 2023 in Nashville

Katherine Bomboy/NBC via Getty Images

Toby Keith performing in September 2023 in Nashville

Related: Brett Favre Says Toby Keith Told Him He Quit Chemo and Was ‘Tired’ Days Before His Death at 62

Keith died at the age of 62 on Monday after being diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021. The country legend “passed peacefully,” his family shared in a statement posted on social media.

Following the video of his tribute performance, McGraw received comments of praise from fans and friends including Brett Favre, who was also a good friend of Keith's. “Tim that was awesome!!!” he wrote.

Favre’s comment comes after revealing earlier this week his final encounter with Keith after speaking with him three months prior to his death.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, the retired NFL quarterback, 54, shared, “I think in the end he was just tired. He did say that to me when we had our conversation, he said, ‘Brett… whatever happens, I'm OK with it.' "

Favre added, “[Keith] said, ‘I quit chemo and it probably did more damage to me than the cancer did. And he said, ‘I just hope I didn’t quit it too late, but… I’m thankful I got a chance to play some shows. I finished them.’ ”

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McGraw’s performance honoring Keith comes days after he posted a tribute to the late singer, who he called his “brother,” on Instagram.

In his post, McGraw noted his alignment with Keith in their life and careers as he described the late singer as a "maverick" that "did things his way, on his terms."

"I always have and always will have tremendous respect for his artistry, dedication and fearlessness to do his thing,” McGraw continued. He signed off the tribute saying, "We all will miss you, brother."

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