Sad news today as it has been announced that country music icon Kenny Rogers has died at the age of 81. The Grammy award-winning musician "passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family," according to a statement by representative Keith Hagan.

The statement, which was posted on Saturday, states that Rogers died at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and that he passed away from natural causes. "Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music," the statement said. "His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world."

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The music star's family is now planning to have a private service out of concern for the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus strain COVID-19. They have also stated that a public memorial to celebrate his life, achievements, and, of course, his music, will take place at a later date.

Kenny Rogers has become synonymous with country music, having topped the charts multiple times during the 1970s and 1980s, going on to win three Grammy awards. The musician is best known for his song The Gambler, which was released in 1978. He went on to star in TV movies based on The Gamber as well as other songs. Rogers worked for some 60 years before he retired from touring in 2017 at the age of 79. Despite achieving success across multiple platforms, Rogers always stated his preference for being thought of as a country singer.

The Country Music Association said in the wake of his death that Rogers had "forever left a mark on country music's history".

Rogers grew up in public housing in Houston Heights along with his seven siblings. He achieved his first gold single at the young age of 20 with the song That Crazy Feeling, at the time going by the name Kenneth Rogers, but when that early success stalled, Rogers joined a jazz group named The Bobby Doyle Trio, as a standup bass player. His breakthrough came when he was invited to join a folk group named the New Christy Minstrels back in 1966, with the band eventually reforming as First Edition scoring a pop hit with Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), a song with a psychedelic bent.

The group split up in 1974, having found much success mixing country-rock and folk on songs like Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town, a story of a Vietnam veteran begging his girlfriend to stay. After the break-up, Rogers began his solo career, finding a big hit with the country music ballad Lucille in 1977. The song found favor in the pop charts and earned Rogers his first Grammy award.

Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, and in that same year, he played at the music festival Glastonbury in England, as well as receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association.

Rogers' music has appeared on soundtracks throughout a very wide variety of projects on both the big and small screen. The Golden Globes also paid their respects to the music icon, saying "Kenny Rogers, an icon of country music and a Golden Globe nominee, died Friday night, according to a statement posted by his family. He was 81. Rest in Peace." This sad news comes to us from CMA Country Music.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge