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Country Music Legend Kenny Rogers Dies Aged 81

Country music legend Kenny Rogers has passed away aged 81.

The Grammy award winning icon is best known for his duet with Dolly Parton, Islands in the stream, and his big hit The Gambler.

His impressive career spanned 60 years and seven decades as he gained millions of fans around the world for his songs and live performances.

A statement from the family read: “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night.

“Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.

“In a career that spanned more than six decades, 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.”

“Chart-topping hits like “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands In The Stream,” “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me,” and “Through the Years” are just a handful of Kenny Rogers’ songs that have inspired generations of artists and fans alike.

“The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.

“They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers [Photo: Courtesy]

The news of his death was announced just after 6 am today.

Piers Morgan has already paid tribute, describing the American singer as “One of the all-time great country music stars and an utterly charming man”.

Kenny was born in Houston, Texas, US on August 21, 1938.

He was born into a grew up in a housing estate into a poor family, but music was his calling from early on and he started his first band, The Scholars in 1956 while still in high school.

Just a year later, in 1957, he had already released first solo single, That Crazy Feeling, performing on hit US show American Bandstand.

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In the late 70s, he started to solidify what became legendary status when his song Lucille won him a Grammy Award for best male country vocal performance in 1977.

It was also named song of the year and single of the year by the Academy of Country Music and single of the year by the Country Music Association, as well as becoming a hit on the pop charts.

The Gambler was another runaway success which led to a starring role in a made for TV movie of the same name, which was so success, it impressively garnered four sequels.

Kenny Rogers [Photo: Courtesy]

Outside of music he acted in films and TV shows, and had his own restaurant chain, Kenny Rogers Roasters.

The multiple Grammy winner, who played the legends slot at Glastonbury in 2013, had planned further performances but called off the shows in April 2018 due to unspecified “health challenges”.

He said in a statement at the time: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to the fans over the course of the past two years.

“I could never properly thank them for the encouragement and support they’ve given me throughout my career and the happiness I’ve experienced as a result of that.”

Born and raised in Houston, Rogers’s trademark gravelly voice helped bring him 20 solo single number ones on the US country charts between 1977-87.

Two of those songs – his duet of Islands In The Stream with Parton and his remake of Lionel Richie’s Lady – also hit the top of the pop charts.

Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and gained a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association the same year.

As tributes to Rogers began to flow in, singer Richard Marx tweeted: “I’m so sad to see Kenny Rogers go. He did so much for me as a young songwriter and we stayed friends for over 30 years.

“I’ll really miss him. May he rest easy.”

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Written by MT

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