Kenny Rogers died

Country singer Kenny Rogers is dead

Rogers died late on Friday evening (local time) "peacefully at home, of natural causes and (...) surrounded by his family," the Rogers family said. Initially, they are only planning “a small private farewell party” in these times of concern about the coronavirus crisis. The US singer's career spanned six decades, during which he "left an indelible mark in the history of American music," as the family wrote.

In his very successful career, especially in the USA, which brought him together with country music icons such as Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, the musician sold more than 120 million albums. In October 2017, Rogers retired with a furious concert finale alongside colleagues like Parton and Lionel Richie.

The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family. https://t.co/adxAgiMW2spic.twitter.com/nggWiiotMT

- Kenny Rogers (@_KennyRogers) March 21, 2020

Also played jazz and rock

Born in Houston, Texas in 1938 as the fourth of eight children, Rogers doesn't just know country, even though he was accepted into the US hall of fame for this genre. In between he also played jazz, rock, pop and folk, wrote books, worked as an actor, photographer - and even played tennis professionally. "I only started when I was 35, then I got obsessed and played eight hours a day."

But Kenneth “Kenny” Rogers kept coming back to country music - after all, his mother once ironed it, as he once said. Unlike many of his colleagues, the singer did not only conjure up the conservative “ideal world image” in his songs.

He also took on sensitive issues such as racism ("Reuben James"), rape ("Coward Of The County") or the suffering of war veterans ("Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town"). “That's my strength in music. I've always looked for two types of songs. Ballads that say everything men say and women want to hear. And socially important songs. "

One of the "funniest gigs of his life"

All of which brought him fans all over the world. Even people who otherwise tend to reject country often have a weakness for Rogers. And even the reggae nation Jamaica adored the singer. He had one of the "funniest appearances of his life" on the island, said Rogers, who was always happy to tell the story of how it took him four hours from the hotel to the concert stage because so many Jamaicans had walked to his performance and clogged the streets.

Despite his successful career, Rogers didn't seem aloof - and that resonated with many people. The reason was a Ray Charles concert at which he watched the laughing and clapping spectators when he was twelve, Rogers said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “Since then it has just never been important to me that people leave my show and say, 'He's the best singer ever.' But it is important to me that they say, 'I enjoyed the show.' I just am an entertainer. "