Kenny Rogers Obituary, Death – Agent Keith Hagan said singer Kenny Rogers died Friday night. Aged 81. Rogers died “peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.” “The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency,” the statement stated.
“They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.” Rogers’ “Lucille,” “Lady,” and “Islands in the Stream” spanned jazz, folk, country, and pop. Houston’s ’70s and ’80s star sold tens of millions of albums, won three Grammys, and appeared in TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs. Rogers retired at 79. Despite crossover popularity, he was a country singer.
“You either do what everyone else is doing and do it better, or you do what nobody else is doing and don’t invite comparison,” Rogers told The Associated Press in 2015. I did it because I could never surpass Johnny Cash, Willie, or Waylon. I acted differently. People thought I wanted to change country music. I didn’t care.” “Kenny was one of those artists who transcended one format and geographic borders,” says Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern. He popularized country music worldwide.
Rogers earned five CMA Awards and the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. 10 ACM Awards. The RIAA reported 47 million US record sales. Rogers’ rags-to-riches journey began in Houston Heights public housing with seven siblings.
He got a break with the New Christy Minstrels in 1966. After the quartet broke up in 1974, Rogers started his solo career with the 1977 country hit “Lucille,” which went mainstream and earned him his first Grammy. Rogers got famous and had singles for over a decade. “The Gambler,” Don Schlitz’s Grammy-winning narrative song, was published in 1978 and became his signature song with the lyric “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”
The song led to a blockbuster TV movie and sequels starring Rogers as professional gambler Brady Hawkes and a lengthy side career as a TV actor and host of various TV shows. Other hits were “You Decorated My Life,” “Every Time Two Fools Collide” with Dottie West, “Don’t Fall In Love with a Dreamer” with Kim Carnes, and “Coward of the County.” Lionel Richie wrote “Lady,” a 1980 hit.
Rogers returned to the country charts in 2000 with “Buy Me A Rose,” thanks to his second favorite medium, television. His manager suggested “Touched By An Angel” producers base the episode around his new hit. That cross-promotion produced his first country No. 1 in 13 years. His spokesman said Rogers is left by his wife Wanda, sons Justin, Jordan, Chris, and Kenny Jr., two brothers, a sister, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.