Country Music Star Kenny Rogers Dies

Kenny Rogers, the appealing, gritty voice behind such ’70s and ’80s pop and country hits as “The Gambler,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream,” has died at age 81.

Rogers “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” a rep for the singer told Variety.

In deference to the COVID-19 emergency, the family is holding a small, private service, though a public memorial will be held in the future.

The bearded, prematurely gray singer was first and foremost a country star, notching 20 solo 45s to the top of the country charts between 1977 and 1987, Variety noted.

His 1978 country hit “The Gambler” includes the lyrics, “Crushed out his cigarette, and faded off to sleep/And somewhere in the darkness, The Gambler, he broke even/But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.”

Rogers’ biggest pop/crossover hits were “Lady” in 1980 and “Islands in the Stream,” a duet with Dolly Parton from 1983.

The star had been hospitalized for dehydration last Spring. He announced his retirement in 2017.