Kenny Rogers, the legendary country music singer known for pop classics like “Through the Years” and “The Gambler,” has died on Saturday at the age of 81 from natural causes. His music was often seen as a bridge between different generations.
His 1983 duet, “Islands in the Stream” with frequent collaborator Dolly Parton, one of his biggest hits, is the perfect illustration of that idea. Rapper Pras used a portion of the track for hid 1998 hit, “Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are),” featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard and R&B singer Mýa.
A statement released by the family reads: “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
Because of the national COVID-19 emergency, his team has announced that a public celebration will be scheduled at a later date. Information about the funeral has not been revealed.
Rogers retired in April 2018 before completing his farewell tour. At the time, he told fans: “I didn’t want to take forever to retire. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to the fans over the course of the past two years on The Gambler’s Last Deal tour. 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.”
Around the holidays, he had shared a video online wishing his fans a happy Thanksgiving while being surrounded by his loved ones. This was the last message he posted on social media.
Supporters around the globe are still in shock and are reaching out to each other for solace in these difficult times.
One of them said: “God bless The Gambler, you Decorated My Life and helped me to Love the World Away. Thank you for your soundtrack to me younger life. I am forever grateful.”
A second comment read: “I’m so shocked and terribly saddened I considered Kenny a friend of mine the world lost a great man, a great singer, and a great entertainer God bless him in Heaven.”
This fan added: “I am so sorry for his family’s loss. I spent a lot of time with him backstage at the Grand Old Opry. My prayers are with his family.”
Another supporter explained: “I am so terribly saddened by this news, Kenny Rogers was my dad’s favorite musician and his music has given me so much comfort since my dad passed away. Rest in peace Kenny.”
Rogers, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association in 2013, was married five times.
He is survived by his five children and wife of 20 years, Wanda Miller Rogers.