Kenny Rogers Remembered by Blake Shelton, Charlie Daniels and More: ‘Rest in Peace, Gambler’

The country legend died Friday at age 81

kenny rogers
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Tributes poured in Saturday morning for Grammy-winning country music legend Kenny Rogers, who died late Friday at age 81 after a decades-long career with crossover megahits like “The Gambler” and “Islands in the Stream.”

“I can’t express on twitter the impact Kenny Rogers the artist and the man had on me,” Blake Shelton tweeted. “He was always very kind and fun to be around. Rest in Peace Gambler.”

“Your songs are woven into the fabric of our memories, classics, that will live on in the musical heart of a world that will miss you so much,” Charlie Daniels wrote.

Wynonna praised Rogers as “One of the greatest examples of integrity I have ever known. … Life is so bittersweet.”

Dolly Parton, who partnered with her long-time friend in the duet “Islands in the Stream,” said in a tearful video message, “You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone,” Parton tweeted. “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.”

Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt remembered shooting “an episode of ‘Reno 911!’ where I played a crazed stalker who shoots Kenny Rogers. The cast loved him, he told great stories, and was a joy to be around.”

Rogers’ family announced the death on the singer’s official Twitter account. “The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency,” the family wrote. “They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”

Rogers’ career spanned more than six decades, hitting its peak in the ’70s and ’80s. His chart-topping hits included “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands In The Stream” (with longtime collaborator Dolly Parton), “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me” and “Through the Years.”

Rogers had 24 No. 1 hits, was a Country Music Hall of Fame member, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time Grammy Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015 and was voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People.

Read some of the early tributes below.