Music legend Kenny Rogers dies

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 22 Mar 2020, 9:15AM
Kenny Rogers sings on stage in 1981. Photo / Getty Images
Kenny Rogers sings on stage in 1981. Photo / Getty Images

Music legend Kenny Rogers dies

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 22 Mar 2020, 9:15AM

Country music legend Kenny Rogers has died.

"The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25pm at the age of 81," his family said in a statement on Saturday.

"Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family."

The family said it was planning a small private service "out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency".

They added that they looked forward to celebrating Rogers' life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.

Among Rogers' famous songs are The Gambler, Lady, Islands In The Stream, Lucille, She Believes In Me, and Through the Years.

Last year, the music icon denied he was dying. He was in hospital for dehydration, but his managers said he was expected to recover.

Kenny Rogers on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson - April 5, 1977. Photo / Getty Images

But a source told Radar Online: "He's a lot sicker than he's ever let on to the public - or even to his friends".

Rogers last performed in New Zealand in 2015.

He performed his Farewell Down Under Tour in Hamilton and Christchurch, following an eight-city tour of Australia.

Rogers has toured Australia and New Zealand numerous times — including his first visit as a member of the First Edition in 1973 (Rolling Through New Zealand Tour), with Dolly Parton in 1984 and 1987, with Reba McEntire in 1998, and again in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Country Superstar Kenny Rogers has died age 81. He performs onstage during his final world tour "The Gambler's Last Deal" on June 30, 2016 in Thousand Oaks, California. Photo / Getty Images

He said before his 2015 tour: "For all of the travelling I've done around the world, Australia and New Zealand remain two of my favourite places to perform. When I was with the First Edition, we made this same trip several times, and no matter how many times I've gone, I've always loved the audiences there. They have a great sense of humour and have always treated me with such great respect, so for that, I say thank you."

Rogers has recieved numerous awards in his career.

He was honoured with an induction into the American Country Music Hall of Fame and the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award – his sixth Country Music Association Award. Previous accolades include three Grammy Awards, eighteen American Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards and sales of more than 120 million – one Diamond, twenty Platinum and thirty two Gold albums.

In 2013, Rogers made his first appearance at the Glastonbury Festival, playing to over 130,000 fans.

As an actor, Rogers starred as Brady Hawkes in The Gambler - five films which became the longest running mini-series franchise on American television and another movie inspired by his hit, Coward of the County.

His autobiography, Luck Or Something Like It - A Memoir, was a New York Times Best Seller on release in 2012.

Rogers also produced several books of photography and received an Honorary Masters of Photography from the Professional Photographers of America.