Last week, Country music superstar Toby Keith paid tribute to his late friend and Commander of the US Navy’s SEAL Team 8, Brian Bourgeois, who unfortunately passed away on Tuesday, December 7.
“Go Rest In Peace friend. We are praying for your family. -T” Keith captioned his Instagram post, in which he shared a photo in memory of his fallen friend.
The navy announced in a statement that Bourgeois, 43, died at Norfolk Sentara General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia after an accident occurred during a fast-rope training exercise. This incident that ended his career of over 20 years in the military is still under investigation.
Because of his history as a four-year Naval academy football player and 2001 alum, the U.S. Naval Academy football team honored the SEAL Team 8 commander at this year’s annual Army Navy game.
A SEAL Team 8 flag was added to the annual field run, two players, senior Michael Salisbury and sophomore Jayden Umbarger, added patches to their uniform, which had been given to their coach by Bourgeois earlier this year, and a no. 13 Navy jersey with the same patches was placed on the sideline during the game. After the game, several players bounced Bourgeois’ youngest son in the air, while wearing a Navy football helmet, in celebration of the team’s win.
That is Brian Bourgeois' youngest son that the team is throwing up in the air. The entire Bourgeois family was in the locker room after the win and his wife Megan spoke to the team. https://t.co/jRUZyWH4BE
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) December 12, 2021
“An incident like this weighs heavily on us all,” Capt. Donald Wetherbee, commodore for Naval Special Warfare Group 2, said in a statement. “Brian was as tough as they come, an outstanding leader and a committed father, husband and friend. This is a great loss to everyone who knew him. He will be greatly missed.”
Because of his great commitment, Bourgeois was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” device for valor, among other decorations and awards including a Combat Action Ribbon, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals. He is survived by his wife and their five children ages six to 18 years old.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bourgeois family — and we will ensure our community remains in support of and in relationship with Brian’s family and his children, for life,” Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, the commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, said in a recent statement.
Although he has never enlisted, Keith has been on the front lines and his father was drafted. Because of that, Keith continues to use his large audience to show his support for the troops. He has visited many military heroes overseas, makes an effort to bring those in his audience who have served backstage for a meet and greet as often as he can, and those visiting his I Love Bar and Grill restaurants with military ID can enjoy a free burger and beer on the “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” singer.
Toby Keith is currently out on the road on his Country Comes To Town Tour. Tickets are still available here. On tour, the icon will be singing his classics and tunes off of his latest record, Peso ln My Pocket.