Iconic country music singer Kenny Rogers has died at the age of 81, his family has confirmed.
Rogers, who recently announced the impending release of his biography, “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” according to a statement by representative Keith Hagan.
The statement continued: “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. 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.
“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.”
Rogers, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, started his recording career with jazz-singer Bobby Doyle before joining the band First Edition and honing his style throughout the 1960s. After enjoying success with his group, Rogers embarked on what would become a prolific solo career and topped the charts during the 1970s and 1980s—winning three Grammy awards in the process.
Having worked with some of the leading names in the industry such as Dolly Parton, Sheena Easton, Lionel Richie and more, Rogers is arguably best remembered for ‘The Gambler’, his first hit solo song which was released in 1978. The song, such a staple in Rogers’ life, was developed into a television show which saw the singer himself take the lead role in what developed into a successful series of television films which began with 1980s Emmy-nominated Kenny Rogers as The Gambler.
With a career that lasted 6 0years before he retired at the age of 79 in 2017, Rogers has always reflected on his sole purpose of being a country singer: “I came into country music not trying to change country music but trying to survive,” he said in an interview with CMT.com. “And so I did songs that were not country but were more pop. Nowadays they’re not doing country songs at all. What they’re doing is creating their own genre of country music. But I told somebody the other day, country music is what country people will buy. If the country audience doesn’t buy it, they’ll kick it out. And if they do, then it becomes country music. It’s just era of country music we’re in.”