Kenny Rogers, country music icon, dies at 81

Kenny Rogers, a longtime star of country music, died Friday night, according to a statement posted by his family. He was 81.

Known for such hits as “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands in the Stream,” and “Lucille,” Rogers died peacefully at home of natural causes at 10:25pm, the statement said.

In all, Rogers had 24 No. 1 hits and was the winner of six CMA Awards and three Grammys, the family’s statement said.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2013 he received the Country Music Association’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, according to Variety.

Early in his career, Rogers led the band Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, whose hits included the Mel Tillis-written song, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.”

Last May, Rogers was admitted to a Georgia hospital for dehydration, amid rumors that his overall health was failing.

In 2018, health problems prompted Rogers to call off shows during what was billed as his farewell concert tour.

“Kenny Rogers had been working through a series of health challenges and has been advised to cancel all performances through the end of the year to focus on recuperation,” a statement from the singer’s management said at the time.

“I didn’t want to take forever to retire,” Rogers was quoted as saying. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to the fans over the course of the past two years on ‘The Gambler’s Last Deal’ tour.”

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