Across social media, friends and fans mourned country music legend Kenny Rogers.
Rogers, the smooth, Grammy-winning balladeer who spanned jazz, folk, country and pop with such hits as “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream” and embraced his persona as “The Gambler” on record and on TV died Friday night. He was 81.
The Rogers family announced his death on Twitter. They said he died "peacefully" under hospice care in his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Early Saturday celebrities reacted to the news. Piers Morgan shared a photo of the Houston-born performer, to express his sadness. "RIP Kenny Rogers, 81. What incredibly sad news. One of the all-time great country music stars & an utterly charming man," Morgan wrote.
Stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt shared his favorite memory of Rogers on Twitter.
"I was on an episode of 'Reno 911!' where I played a crazed stalker who shoots Kenny Rogers," Oswalt wrote. "The cast loved him, he told great stories, and was a joy to be around. And “The Gambler” is a truly great song. #RIPKennyRogers."
Larry the Cable Guy took to Twitter to thank Rogers for his contributions to the music world. "Oh man Kenny Rogers just died," he wrote. "RIP Gambler. Thanks for all the great music."
Novelist Greg Olear mourned Rogers' death on Twitter too, and shared how he first became acquainted with his music.
"This one hurts," he wrote.
When he was in fourth grade, Olear said he played "Kenny Rogers Gold" on repeat on his aunt's cassette deck.
"I've loved him ever since," he continued, noting a few of his favorite Rogers songs including "Lucille," which he called the "best."
Across Twitter, fans reacted too by sharing the hash tag "RIPLegend," and recounting their memories of Rogers' music, some calling his songs a "staple" to their childhood.
Others simply tweeted lyrics to Rogers' hits including "Islands In The Stream" which he sang with Dolly Parton.
The Houston-born performer with the husky voice and silver beard sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys and was the star of TV movies based on “The Gambler” and other songs, making him a superstar in the ‘70s and ’80s. Rogers thrived for some 60 years before retired from touring in 2017 at age 79. Despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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