Kenny Rogers, the legendary country music singer known for hit songs such as The Gambler and Lucille, died on Friday night at the age of 81, according to his publicist Keith Hagan.
His family also confirmed his death via his Twitter account.
The statement by Rogers’ family said that he passed away last night at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He died from “natural causes” at 10:25 p.m., surrounded by loved ones.
Rogers was under hospice care at the time of his death.
According to the statement by his publicist:
“Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world.”
The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family. https://t.co/adxAgiMW2s pic.twitter.com/nggWiiotMT
— Kenny Rogers (@_KennyRogers) March 21, 2020
The Country Music Association (CMA) also released a statement on Twitter:
“Country Music has lost the great Kenny Rogers, who has forever left a mark on Country Music’s history. His family and friends are in our thoughts during this difficult time.”
Country Music has lost the great Kenny Rogers, who has forever left a mark on Country Music's history. His family and friends are in our thoughts during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/tKPXUXU2kp
— CMA Country Music (@CountryMusic) March 21, 2020
Kenny Rogers was known to have battled health issues in recent years
Rogers was admitted to a hospital in Georgia for dehydration last May, according to Fox News. This led to rumors that his health was deteriorating.
In 2018, he was forced to cancel dates for his The Gambler’s Last Deal farewell tour due to undisclosed health issues.
His family plans to have only a small, private service due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the statement added that there were plans to celebrate “the life of Kenny Rogers publicly with his friends and fans at a later date,” according to CNN.
Tributes pour in on Twitter
Fans, colleagues, and organizations have been paying tribute on social media since the news of his death broke last night.
Rest In Peace to the legendary Kenny Rogers.
Thank you for always lifting us up ❤️ pic.twitter.com/iYlcMaBAEd
— Muppet History (@HistoryMuppet) March 21, 2020
RIP Kenny Rogers! pic.twitter.com/JP6aIm3cNb
— Steven James (@TheLaunchMag) March 21, 2020
Just feel like sitting down to cry. ? #KennyRogers was a true country gentleman. His voice was like 'gravel' wrapped in 'velvet'. May he RIP. ? Condolences to his family, friends, and his countless admirer's. ? #CountryMusicRoyalty ? https://t.co/wN11rGtDgn
— ?AngieKincadeChizum? (@MJsTruth) March 21, 2020
— Rafael A Rosario (@Rafy614) March 21, 2020
Kenny Rogers bio
Kenny Rogers was born in Houston, Texas, in August 1938. He was raised in Houston as the fourth of eight siblings.
Rogers was an influential country musician known for hits such as The Gambler, Through the Years, Lucille, We’ve Got Tonight, Coward of the County, and Lady. He is also known for Islands in the Stream, his hit duet with fellow country singer Dolly Parton.
He sold more than 50 million albums in the U.S. alone, according to CNN.
In 2013, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and honored with the Country Music Association’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017.
Rogers won three Grammy Awards and six Country Music Awards.
He was also known for appearing in multiple TV movies inspired by his song, The Gambler. He guest-starred on The Muppet Show.
He retired in 2015, saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family
Rogers was also a philanthropist who campaigned to raise awareness about homelessness and hunger in the country through the Hands Across America campaign which he co-chaired.
Rogers also co-founded the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters.
He was married five times to Janice Gordon, Jean Rogers, Margo Anderson, Marianne Gordon, and Wanda Miller.
Kenny Rogers is survived by his wife Wanda Miller and five children.