Jason Aldean Performs Tear-Jerking Tribute to Toby Keith at the 2024 ACM Awards

Keith died on Feb. 5 at the age of 62 after being diagnosed with cancer

<p>Jason Kempin/Getty </p> Jason Aldean

Jason Kempin/Getty

Jason Aldean

Jason Aldean is paying tribute to his late friend Toby Keith.

The country star, 47, sang one of Keith's biggest hits at the 59th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards which streamed live on Prime Video Thursday night, May 16. Keith died in February at the age of 62 after being diagnosed with stomach cancer.

For the performance, Aldean graced the stage and performed an acoustic version of Keith's "Should've Been a Cowboy," causing Keith's family to shed tears as they watched from the audience.

The "Try That in a Small Town" singer announced the plan to honor the "Red Solo Cup" singer in his Instagram Stories on Tuesday, May 14.

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"Honored to pay tribute to my friend, the one and only @tobykeith with a special performance of "Should've Been a Cowboy" at the @acmawards. Join me as we celebrate his legacy and the mark he left on country music," he wrote over a photo of Keith in the announcement.

The 1993 song is the first single Keith ever released and is from his debut self-titled album released the same year.

The live show also featured live performances by Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Kelsea Ballerini with “Stick Season” singer Noah Kahan and Post Malone, who made his ACMs performance debut.

Check out PEOPLE's full ACM Awards coverage there.

<p>John Parra/Getty; Jason Kempin/Getty</p> Aldean and Keith

John Parra/Getty; Jason Kempin/Getty

Aldean and Keith

New male artist of the year nominee Nate Smith also performed on Thursday night with Avril Lavigne and Kane BrownJelly RollCody JohnsonMiranda LambertThomas RhettChris StapletonLainey Wilson and host Reba McEntire also performed live.

The 2024 Academy of Country Music Awards are streaming live on Prime Video from Ford Center at The Star in Texas.

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