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Tributes flow for Kenny Rogers following his passing, aged 81

The world of country music is in mourning for legend Kenny Rogers, who passed away on Friday night from natural causes. With a stellar music career spanning six decades, the three-time Grammy Award winner had 24 number 1 hits and sold more than 50 million albums in the US alone.

Tributes from fans, fellow artists, and even politicians have been flowing in from around the globe for The Gambler singer.

Kenny Rogers
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone.” The loss of country music great Kenny Rogers has been felt across the music world, with tributes pouring in from fans and friends.

Dolly Parton gave a tearful tribute to her longtime duet partner on Twitter, holding up a photo of them together and telling fans that she loved the late singer “with all her heart”:

“We all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today, but I’m sure he’s going to be talking to God sometime today,” Parton told fans.

“He’s going to be asking Him to spread some light on the darkness that’s going on here. I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart is broken, a big old chunk of it has gone with him today.”

Longtime friend, collaborator, and producer of Rogers’ hit Lady, Lionel Richie also shared his grief with fans. “Today I lost one of my closest friends. So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken… My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family,” Richie tweeted along with a heartwarming picture of the two.

Fellow country artists Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton took to social media to express their grief and celebrate Rogers’ life and career. Even the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, posted a tribute to his friendship with the late singer.

Throughout his career, Rogers gained notability for his “distinctive, husky voice” and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013. His 1978 hit song The Gambler inspired multiple TV movies up until the ’90s, featuring Rogers as the main character.

In 1985, he participated in the original recording of We Are the World and co-chaired the Hands Across America campaign one year later, raising awareness about the rate of poverty in the US.