The country music world has lost a legend.
According to the Associated Press, country superstar Kenny Rogers passed away at his Georgia home on Friday. He was 81.
A representative for Rogers said he had been under hospice care and died of natural causes, the AP reported.
Six decades of success
Rising from childhood poverty, Rogers’ career spanned some six decades before his decision to retire in 2017, the AP reported. In addition to country, the three-time Grammy winner had success in other music genres as well, the AP noted, including pop and jazz.
Rogers also found success as an actor, appearing in a series of television movies based on his signature hit “The Gambler,” a song he released in 1978.
Rogers was also known for “Islands in the Stream,” a song that he recorded with fellow country music icon Dolly Parton in 1982.
“Dolly doesn’t walk, she marches,” Rogers said in an interview shared by the Associated Press in 2017. “And from the moment she marched in, that song never sounded the same. It took on a whole new spirit.”
Rogers and Parton revived their hit single during Rogers’ 2017 farewell tour. “The whole idea was to go to cities and say goodbye, and for me to say thank you to those people for 60 years of support,” Rogers said of the tour in video shared by the AP. “And it’s been fun and their response has been incredible.”
In a video posted to Twitter Saturday, Parton said her heart was “broken” after hearing the news of her longtime singing partner’s passing, the AP reported. “I loved Kenny with all my heart,” Parton added. “I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends, and fans when I say that I will always love you.”
You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. pic.twitter.com/hIQLIvt8pr
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 21, 2020
Leaving a legacy
Unlike most celebrities, Rogers was open about his support for President Donald Trump during his lifetime, telling The Guardian in 2015: “I really like him.”
“I love what he says, I have to admit. He can be president and not owe anybody anything,” Rogers continued. “He’s one of the few people [who] has the money to do it, and has the guts to do it.”
Breitbart reported Friday that the Rogers family will be holding a private memorial service “out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.”
“A public memorial will be held at a later date,” Breitbart noted.