Country Legend Kenny Rogers has died, aged 81

Publish Date
Saturday, 21 March 2020, 7:50PM

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.

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.

He said before his 2015 tour: "For all of the traveling 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."

This article was originally posted at NZ Herald and reproduced here with permission.