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Legendary Country Singer Kenny Rogers Has Died At 81

"I loved Kenny with all my heart and my heart's broken," Dolly Parton said of her "Islands in the Stream" duet partner.

Posted on March 21, 2020, at 10:09 a.m. ET

Laura Roberts / AP

Singer Kenny Rogers has died at 81, his family said in a statement Friday night.

The country music legend was known for hits including "The Gambler" and his duet with Dolly Parton, "Islands in the Stream." He was a three-time Grammy winner and held six Country Music Association (CMA) awards.

Rogers died of natural causes while in hospice care at his home in Georgia, his family said. A private memorial service for his family has been planned, the statement said, but a public celebration of his life will be held at a later date out of concern over the coronavirus outbreak.

Rogers was born one of eight children in Houston. He began his recording career in the 1950s before finding commercial success in 1976 with the song "Lucille."

McLendon / Associated Press

Rogers put out 65 albums and sold more than 165 million records in the course of his career. His retirement concert, in 2017, was attended by Parton, Lionel Richie, Reba McEntire, and other renowned musicians. He stopped performing in 2018 due to health issues.

Following the news of his death, country music stars and fans paid tribute to Rogers on Twitter.

"I loved Kenny with all my heart, and my heart's broken, and a big old chunk of it has gone with him today," Parton said in a video Saturday morning. "I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans when I say that I will always love you."

You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend.

I can’t express on twitter the impact Kenny Rogers the artist and the man had on me. He was always very kind and fun to be around. Rest In Peace Gambler...

Rest In Peace to the legendary Kenny Rogers. Thank you for always lifting us up ❤️

RIP to an absolute legend and a Crockett, TX native... Kenny Rogers! Wow!

Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers singing Islands in the stream #RIPKennyRogers

Rogers is survived by his wife, Wanda Miller, and his five children.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.