It was announced this morning (March 21) that Rogers had passed away of natural causes at the age of 81.
“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,” Dolly 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
Dolly continued: “I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart’s broken, and a big old chunk of it has gone with him today. I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans when I say that I will always love you.”
Dolly then produced a picture of her and Rogers, before saying: “God bless you, Kenny. Fly high, straight into the arms of God. And to the rest of you, keep the faith.”
Parton and Rogers collaborated most famously on 1982 track ‘Islands In The Stream’ – listen to it below.
An NME obituary for Rogers called him “the big-bearded, big-hearted king of country music”.