“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81,” the statement began. “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
Rogers had a number of hits across the 1970s and ’80s, including ‘The Gambler’, ‘Lady’, ‘Through The Years’, ‘Lucille’ and more. He’s a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, a three-time Grammy winner, and had 24 number-one songs across his near-60-year career.
A number of the singer’s friends, collaborators and fellow artists have taken to social media to pay tribute.
Dolly Parton paid an emotional tribute, saying: “My heart’s broken, and a big old chunk of it has gone with him today.”
“I couldn’t believe it this morning when I got up, turned on the TV, checking to see what the coronavirus was doing, and they told me that my friend and singing partner Kenny Rogers had passed away,” Parton said in a video message posted on social media.
“I know that we all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be talking to God some time today if he ain’t already. He’s going to be asking him to spread some light on much of this darkness going on here.”
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
“THANK YOU KENNY ROGERS,” Keith Urban tweeted. “For decades of genre bending music and collaborations – for making music that travelled the globe .. and songs that became common threads for people from all walks of life !! GO REST HIGH BROTHER. With love and deep appreciation.”
THANK YOU KENNY ROGERS-
for decades of genre bending music and collaborations – for making music that travelled the globe .. and songs that became common threads for people from all walks of life !! GO REST HIGH BROTHER. With love and deep appreciation . KU
— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) March 21, 2020
Bryan Adams tweeted: “RIP @_KennyRogers Thanks for all the music and doing the best version of “when you love someone”, (and of course “the gambler” which is one of the best songs ever). Peace #KennyRogers”
— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) March 21, 2020
Glastonbury organiser shared a video of Rogers performing at the festival in 2013, accompanied by the caption: “Farewell dear Kenny.”
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Travis Tritt performed a song in honour of Rogers. “Just my small way of remembering @_KennyRogers,” he tweeted. “This is a song that Kenny wrote with Waylon Jennings (another musical hero) in mind.”
— Travis Tritt (@Travistritt) March 21, 2020
See other tributes to Rogers below:
The Gambler, Kenny Rogers passed away yesterday at the age of 81.
And here’s that time he went head to head on the court with Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Larry Bird, etc.
And Chick Hearn on the call.
Rest, Gambler…❤️🌎🏀 pic.twitter.com/SsNkatPbeG
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) March 21, 2020
Deepest condolences to all those who knew & loved #KennyRogers and especially our friend Tower as he goes through a tough time today 🙏🏻
— Bret Michaels (@bretmichaels) March 21, 2020
I never even met @_KennyRogers but his passing breaks my heart. His music is a large part of the soundtrack of my life. Heaven just got one of the greatest musicians and singers this planet ever heard. Rest easy and thank you for sharing your gift with us @_KennyRogers pic.twitter.com/VU5kuOxADU
— Brandy Clark (@TheBrandyClark) March 21, 2020
Today country music lost a legend. I had the honor of singing with @_KennyRogers at the 2013 CMA’s. Just watch everybody singing along in the audience. What joy he brought to the world. pic.twitter.com/J9lFOsbVfy
— Jennifer Nettles (@JenniferNettles) March 21, 2020
I had the huge honor of producing songs with this American Giant. He was kind, funny and one of the greatest conveyers of a lyric in the history of music. The world will miss you forever. Thank you for the decades of incredible music! You define a generation. #RIPKennyRogers pic.twitter.com/zoi699yeFx
— John Rich (@johnrich) March 21, 2020
I was on an episode of Reno 911! where I played a crazed stalker who shoots Kenny Rogers. The cast loved him, he told great stories, and was a joy to be around. And “The Gambler” is a truly great song. #RIPKennyRogers
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) March 21, 2020
Asleep … when Mary yells “Oh Joseph … Kenny Rogers died”
— Joe Bonsall (@joebonsall) March 21, 2020
Oh No!! One of my favorites Kenny Rogers passed away. Kenny Rogers was essential listening growing up in the 80's. "The Gambler" & "Love Will Turn You Around" from the movie SIX PACK. 🙌
— ChadLindberg (@ChadLindberg) March 21, 2020
— Scotty Nguyen (@TheScottyNguyen) March 21, 2020
RIP Kenny Rogers. Worked with him a couple of times and liked him a lot. As jovial and friendly as you'd imagine.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) March 21, 2020
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) March 21, 2020