Country music legend Kenny Rogers passed away last Friday at the age of 81 from natural causes. The late singer is well known for his chart-topping, cross-genre hits “The Gambler,” “Lady,” and “Through the Years,” among many others.
Rogers’ family broke the news via a press release posted on his socials, which confirmed he died on the evening of March 20. It read, “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
The Houston, Texas-native lived a life full of achievements in and out of the music world. As an artist, he attained 21 number one singles and sold over 100 million records. Outside of that, his acting portfolio consisted of various western and Hollywood shows including Coward of the County, Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, Dr Quinn and Touched by An Angel. The singer also opened his own restaurant, Kenny Rogers Roasters, and penned Luck or Something Like it: A Memoir in 2012.
Later on Saturday morning, fellow country icon Dolly Parton also took to social media to share a message mourning Rogers’ loss. “I know you’re sad as I am, but God bless you, Kenny. Fly high straight to the arms of God. And to the rest of you, keep the faith,” a visibly heartbroken and tearful Parton said.
Parton was Rogers’ longtime friend and collaborator. The two Grammy- and CMA award-winning singers dueted on the 1983 hit song “Islands in the Stream.” They followed that up with several Christmas songs, before what would be their final duet: 2013’s “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” a song about an unwavering friendship and beauty of longtime friends.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rogers family have chosen to hold a small private service. Plans to celebrate the late singer’s life on a larger scale with friends and fans will be announced at a later date.
RIP, Kenny Rogers. Listen to some of his biggest hits below: