Artist News

Kenny Rogers dies

By | Published on Monday 23 March 2020

Country music star Kenny Rogers has died, his family announced in a statement on Saturday. He was 81. A statement on Rogers’ Facebook page said that he had “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family”.

Born in 1938, Rogers began his recording career in the 1950s, playing in bands that spanned psychedelic rock to jazz. He first found fame with the band The First Edition, who played in a number of styles, including country. After the band split in 1976, Rogers launched his solo career, adopting a pop-country sound that proved to have a broad appeal.

His first big hit was ‘Lucille’ in 1977, beginning a string of successes that ran into the 80s – including perhaps his most famous song, ‘Islands In The Stream’, a duet with Dolly Parton written by The Bee Gees.

Rogers remained popular throughout his career, and continued to record and perform live until he announced his retirement in 2018, after a farewell tour was cut short due to health problems. His final studio album – his 28th – was 2015’s ‘Once Again It’s Christmas’.

In a statement marking her friend and former collaborator’s death, Dolly Parton said: “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. So you be safe with God and just know that I will always love you”.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the US Country Music Association, Sarah Trahern, said: “Kenny was one of those artists who transcended beyond one format and geographic borders. He was a global superstar who helped introduce country music to audiences all around the world”.

“I had the pleasure of working with him over the years and I’ll always remember his graciousness and kind heart”, she went on. “He has left us with his music, some of which will go down as the most memorable performances in country music history. Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this sad time”.

Rogers is survived by his fifth wife, Wanda, their twin sons, Justin and Jordan, as well as three children from earlier marriages, Kenny Jr, Carole, and Christopher.