Jason Aldean turned to one of Toby Keith's for a tribute during Thursday night's ACM Awards. The legend's son and — for the first time — wife watched from the crowd.

Keith, who died from complications of stomach cancer on Feb. 5, was a good friend of Aldean's. One of his final public appearances was at an Aldean concert last year.

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Seated on stools, the singer and two acoustic guitar players gave a more soft-spoken performance of "Should've Been a Cowboy," from Keith's self-titled 1993 debut. It was slow and personal, with an extended orchestral interlude separating the final two choruses.

Cameras zoomed in on the Keith family toward the end of the performance to find son Stelen and Tricia Covel shedding tears. Previously, only Keith's three children were present to watch tributes at the CMT Music Awards. Only Stelen was there to accept Keith's Country Music Hall of Fame nomination in March.

attachment-Aldean Toby Keith
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

"Toby was a huge presence in our business and someone we all looked up to and respected," Aldean posted on Facebook the day following Keith's death.

During his career, Keith took home 14 ACM Awards. He was named top male vocalist and had the album of the year multiple times. The "How Do You Like Me Now?!" singer received top honors as ACM's Entertainer of the Year in both 2002 and 2003.

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Aldean told the Tennessean prior to the show that "Should've Been a Cowboy" has always been a big part of his career.

"Even when I started playing in clubs early on at 14 and 15 years old I was up there playing 'Should've Been a Cowboy,'" Aldean said in the interview. "So it's really cool. It's kind of a full circle moment to come here and play it for him and honor his legacy."

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