In Memoriam: Kenny Rogers (1938-2020)
On Mar. 20, Country music legend Kenny Rogers passed away. He was 81 years old. The Rogers family announced his death in a Twitter post.
“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81,” the post read. “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
Rogers was born in Houston, Texas in 1938. During his early recording career, which began in the 1950s, he moved through various genres, including jazz, early rock ‘n roll and some psychedelic rock.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Rogers achieved immense success in the pop-country sphere. His 1977 single “Lucille” reached number one on the pop charts in 12 countries. 1978 saw the release of The Gambler, which contained what would become perhaps Rogers’ most-known recording, the title track “The Gambler.”
Originally written and recorded by Don Schlitz – and covered by many other artists including Johnny Cash – it was Rogers version of the song that became extremely beloved; the recording went on to win the Grammy award for Song of the Year.
In 2012, Rogers joined Phish during their Jun. 10 performance at Bonnaroo to cover “The Gambler.”
Throughout his storied career, Rogers worked alongside many artists, including The Bee Gees, Ronnie Milsap, Lionel Richie and Dolly Parton. Parton released a video statement regarding Rogers’ death.
“We all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today, and I’m pretty sure that he’s going to be talking to God sometime today… He’s going to be asking him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness,” said Parton in her video. “I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart’s broken. A big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today.”
“God bless you Kenny, fly high straight into the arms of God,” Parton continued. “To the rest of you, keep the faith.”
See Parton’s full video below, as well as the Kenny Rogers Twitter account’s statement.