The Gambler country singer Kenny Rogers dies aged 81

Kenny Rogers.
Kenny Rogers. Photo credit: Getty.

Kenny Rogers, the American singer behind 'The Gambler', has died aged 81.

The artist, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and considered one of the most influential country singers of all time, died peacefully at his home on March 20 (US Time) from natural causes. He was under the care of hospice at the time, according to a statement posted to his Twitter account. He was surrounded by his family at the time. 

"His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world," the statement said.

"Chart-topping hits like 'The Gambler', 'Lady', 'Islands In The Stream', 'Lucille', 'She Believes In Me', and 'Through the Years' are just a handful of Kenny Rogers' songs that have inspired generations of artists and fans alike."

Throughout his career, he had 24 number-one hits, winning six Country Music Awards and three Grammys. In a poll run by USA Today and People, he was voted the "favourite singer of all time". Having sold more than 100 million records worldwide, Rogers is one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

On top his music, Rogers also starred in a number of movies and television shows. He developed his 'The Gambler' character for several television films, including Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, which was nominated for Emmys for cinematography and editing. Rogers also began a chain of chicken restaurants, Kenny Rogers Roasters. The franchise has expanded out of the US and to 156 stores worldwide, like in Dubai and Thailand.

A small funeral is being planned "out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency". The statement said a larger celebration of Rogers' life with friends and fans would happen at a later day.

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