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Country Music Legend Kenny Rogers Dies at 81

Country Music Legend Kenny Rogers Dies at 81
Kenny Rogers poses for a portrait at The Hot Seat on in Nashville. Shutterstock

Kenny Rogers, whose country music career spanned six decades, has died at the age of 81.

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“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” reads a statement posted via Rogers’ official Twitter account on Saturday, March 21.

The Grammy winner was best known for his multi-genre hits including, “Lucille, “Lady,” “We’ve Got Tonight,” and his Dolly Parton duet, “Islands in the Stream.” He also sang and starred in the music video for the charity single “We Are the World” 1985.  One of Rogers’ most popular solo albums was The Gambler in 1978, which sparked a series of television movies starring the Georgia native as the title character.

Rogers’ accolades over the course of his career including 30 No. 1 singles in the U.S., three Grammys, six Country Music Awards and eight Academy of Country Music Awards. The crooner was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

The Country Music Award winner announced his retirement on the Today show in September 2015.

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“I’m going to say goodbye at that point,” Rogers said at the time. “I’ve done this long enough. I wrote in my book that sometimes there’s a fine line between being driven and being selfish. I really want to be there with my kids and with my wife. They’re very important to me, and I want to see them. That’s my goal.”

He added later in a statement on his official website, “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.”

Celebrities, including Parton, 74, Blake Shelton, Piers Morgan and Patton Oswalt, shared their grief over his passing via Twitter.

Parton shared a tearful tribute video for her friend and songwriting partner via Twitter on Saturday.

“I loved Kenny with all my heart,” the “Jolene” singer said. “My heart is broken and a big ‘ol chunk of it has gone with him today.”

Shelton, 43, posted via Twitter on Saturday, “I can’t express on twitter the impact Kenny Rogers the artist and the man had on me. He was always very kind and fun to be around. Rest In Peace Gambler…”

Morgan, for his part, penned,  “RIP Kenny Rogers, 81. What incredibly sad news. One of the all-time great country music stars & an utterly charming man.”

Oswalt, 51, recalled his experiencing working with Rogers on the set of the former Comedy Central series, Reno 911.

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“I was on an episode of ‘Reno 911!’ where I played a crazed stalker who shoots Kenny Rogers,” the comedian wrote. “The cast loved him, he told great stories, and was a joy to be around. And “The Gambler” is a truly great song. #RIPKennyRogers.”

Rogers is survived by his wife, Wanda Miller, and his five children, including his 15-year-old twin sons, Justin and Jordan.

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