After bringing the world incredible songs like The Gambler, Lady and Coward of the County, the family of Grammy-winning songwriter and iconic singer, Kenny Rogers, has announced the news that he passed away at the age of 81.
The family of the longtime Country Music Hall of Fame member shared the news today with the world on social media, which has become the best way for so many to let the fans know things these days.
“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
Kenny Rogers was born in Houston, Texas and formed his first band while he was still in high school back in 1956. It was a doo-wop group called the Scholars. By the late ’50s, he charted as a solo act with “That Crazy Feeling — and even performed on American Bandstand. But he wasn’t only interested in country music.
He also played stand-up bass in the jazz group, the Bobby Doyle Three. He appeared on their Columbia Records album. In 1966, he became a member of the popular folk group, The New Christy Minstrels. But much of his early success came when he and his group, the First Edition, scored their first hit, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).
It was off to the races from there, with hits like Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town (when the band changed its name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition). Hits like Reuben James, Something’s Burning, and Tell It All Brother followed. Next TV came calling with the variety show called Rollin’ kept them popular.
His huge break though was his Grammy-winning solo performance of Lucille in 1977 that shot him to superstardom. The song was certified gold, and the Academy of Country Music named it Song of the Year and Single of the Year.
His megahit song, The Gambler, spawned a TV movie he got to star in himself along with four follow-ups and it attracted over 100 million viewers nationwide. He also was on the silver screen with the film Six Pack, where he played a racecar driver and co-starred Erin Gray (Buck Rogers, Silver Spoons) and a young Diane Lane.
Rogers also paired up with some of the biggest names in the music world on memorable duets like with Kim Carnes (Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer), Sheena Easton (We’ve Got Tonight), Dottie West (Every Time Two Fools Collide), Ronnie Milsap (Make No Mistake, She’s Mine), but it was his musical partnership with Dolly Parton that was the most special.
These two remained lifelong friends, even touring together as they thrilled audiences with songs like their ginormous hit Islands in the Stream and You Can’t Make Old Friends.
“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,” wrote Parton on Twitter.