Country music legend Kenny Rogers died Friday night of natural causes, according to a statement posted by his family. He was 81.
“Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world,” posted public Keith Hagan in a statement.
Born on August 21, 1938, Rogers charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres in his six decade career, topping the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone, and sold over 100 million records worldwide. He was the recipient of three Grammy Awards and six CMA Awards, and he scored 24 No. 1 hit songs, including titles such as “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Lucille” and “Islands in the Stream.” His 1978 song “The Gambler” inspired multiple TV movies, with Rogers portraying the main character.
Rogers also appeared on the big screen in “Six Pack” in 1982, he headlined TV movies “Christmas in America” and “MacShayne: Winner Takes All,” and he guest-starred in dramas “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and “Touched by an Angel.
In 1985, he participated in the original recording of “We Are the World” along with more than three dozen artists. A year later, according to his website, he co-chaired “Hands Across America,” a campaign which sought to raise awareness about the homeless and hungry in the US.
“I’ve been so lucky to have enjoyed such a long career and to have such amazing support from my fans and all who have helped me along the way, but there comes a time when I need to focus on spending time with my family,” Rogers said in a statement announcing his retirement in 2015. “My life is about my wife and my 11-year-old twin boys right now. There are a lot of things I want to do together with them to create some special memories. I don’t have a bucket list of my own …I have a bucket list of things I want to do with them.”
The statement from Rogers’s publicist said that out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency, the family is planning a small private service. “They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date,” it read.