Kenny Rogers has died.
The 81-year-old country music legend passed away on Friday (20.03.20) from natural causes under the care of a hospice team, according to a message posted to his Twitter page.
The message said: "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."
In a lengthier statement, it was added that Kenny’s family will celebrate his life at a small family-only funeral due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but a public memorial will be arranged at a later date.
The message stated: "The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date."
Kenny’s music career spanned more than six decades and his classic songs include ‘The Gambler’, ‘Lady’, ‘Islands in the Stream’, ‘Luicille’ and ‘She Believes In Me’.
He first found fame with the group First Edition, before going on to solo success.
He had 24 number one hits during his career, was a Country Music Hall of Fame member, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time GRAMMY Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 and a CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015.
Kenny announced a farewell tour in 2015 but called off the final few dates in 2018.
He said at the time: "I didn’t want to take forever to retire. 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. I could never properly thank them for the encouragement and support they’ve given me throughout my career and the happiness I’ve experienced as a result of that."
Kenny released his memoir, ‘Luck or Something Like It,’ in 2012, and a novel, ‘What Are the Chances,’ in 2013.
During his varied career, he found success as an actor, including with the 1982 movie ‘Six Pack’, while made-for-TV movies based on his songs, such as ‘The Gambler’ series, ‘Christmas in America’, and ‘Coward of the County’ topped the ratings.
Kenny had been married five times, and is survived by his fifth wife Wanda and his five children.