Kenny Rogers, 'The Gambler' and Country Music Legend, Dies at 81

Credit: 3630235Globe Photos/MediaPunch /IPX

Kenny Rogers, country music legend, songwriter, actor and producer, passed away at his home in Georgia from natural causes on March 20. He was 81.

According to a statement from Rogers' family, the singer "passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family."

Rogers, born in 1938 in Houston, Texas, first rose to fame with his band the First Edition (later renamed Kenny Rogers and The First Edition), with hits such as "Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition Was In)," "But You Know I Love You" and "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town."

Rogers launched his solo career in 1976 with the album Love Lifted Me. Later that year, Rogers released a self-titled album, which featured the No. 1 hit "Lucille." His 1978 album The Gambler, which featured Rogers' signature song of the same title, was a smash hit. "The Gambler" won a Grammy for Song of the Year and solidified Rogers as a country music superstar and pop crossover success. The song was added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2018.

Rogers racked up 24 No. 1 hits throughout his career and collaborated with fellow country stars such as Dottie West and Dolly Parton. With Parton, his longtime friend, Rogers recorded several beloved songs, including "Real Love" and "Islands in the Stream." In 2013, they reunited for "You Can't Make Old Friends."

In 2012, Rogers released a memoir, Luck or Something Like It. In 2013, he published a novel, What Are the Chances.

In 2015, Rogers announced his retirement, explaining that he wanted to spend more time with his family.

"My life is about my wife and my 11-year-old twin boys right now. There are a lot of things I want to do together with them to create some special memories," Rogers said. "I don't have a bucket list of my own ... I have a bucket list of things I want to do with them."

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - JANUARY 24: Kenny Rogers performs at The Broward Center on January 24, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX

Rogers launched a farewell tour in 2015, which he continued throughout 2017, but called off the remaining dates in 2018 due to health challenges.

Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Country Music Association that same year.

According to a statement, the family is planning a small private service out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.

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Kenny Rogers, 'The Gambler' and Country Music Legend, Dies at 81