Country music legend Kenny Rogers dies at 81

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Country music legend Kenny Rogers, whose career spanned six decades, has died at the age of 81, his family said late Friday.

“Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” they said in a statement.

The family said they were planning a small private service “out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.”

Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music.

“His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world,” said the statement posted by his representative Keith Hagan.

A three-time Grammy winner who sold tens of millions of records, Rogers was known for a string of hits including The Gambler, Lucille and Islands in the Stream.

Released in 1978, The Gambler album was a huge international hit, going multi-platinum, and the title track became his signature song.

File photo of country music star Kenny Rogers in Nashville. PHOTO: AP