Country music legend Kenny Rogers dies at 81.
Kenny Rogers, a prolific singer who played a significant role in the 1970s and 1980s growing country music audiences, died at his home in Sandy Springs, Ga, on Friday.
“Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” the family said in a statement.
Rogers’ family is planning a private service out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. A public memorial to celebrate his life will be held at a later date.
Singing in a husky voice exuding honesty and love, Kenny Rogers sold well over 100 million records in a career that spanned seven decades. He had 21 No. 1 country hits, including two — “Lucille,” a plaintive barroom song about a man whose wife has left him with “four hungry children and a crop in the field”, and “Islands in the Stream,” performed with Dolly Parton — that reached No. 1 on the pop chart as well.
His first major hit in 1974 was the sad country ballad Lucille, which crossed over to the pop charts in 1977 and won Rogers his first Grammy.
Kenny Rogers had placed more than 50 singles in the country Top 40 of which 20 also appeared in the pop Top 40. He retired from performing for health reasons in 2018. He was among the first country artists to sell out arenas long before the ascendancy of Garth Brooks and Shania Twain in the 1990s.