Kenny Rogers’ Cause of Death: How Did the Singer Die?

kenny rogers cause of death

Getty Kenny Rogers' cause of death was natural.

Legendary singer Kenny Rogers died in March 2020. Many people wondered about his cause of death, especially because he died in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Rogers’ family broke the news of his death on Twitter on March 21, 2020. They stated only that he died of “natural causes.” However, he was being cared for in a hospice when he died and had struggled with health issues for some time, including bladder cancer. Rogers was famous for such enduring tunes as “Lucille,” “Islands in the Stream” and “The Gambler.”

Rogers died March 20, 2020, at 10:25 p.m., according to the announcement. “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” the family wrote.

According to The Washington Post, Rogers was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2017. His career “wound down in 2017 as he encountered health problems that included a diagnosis of bladder cancer,” The Post reported. Radar Online reported in 2019 that Rogers was already ailing and facing death.

Heavy wrote Keith Hagan, the publicist for Rogers, who has been widely quoted as confirming his death in other media, and asked whether he could provide more details about Rogers’ cause of death. Heavy also asked Hagan whether he could confirm or deny whether Rogers had coronavirus; to be clear, there is no evidence that Rogers had coronavirus, and he suffered from long-standing health issues. Hagan responded, “Nothing more to add to our statement.”

Rogers had a host of health issues that dated back years. In the May 2019 article, Radar Online also reported that Rogers was “preparing for the end just a year after bladder cancer forced him to retire.” That article stated that Rogers was then already “a lot sicker than he’s ever let on to the public — or even to his friends.” Radar Online claimed that Rogers had “a 25-year battle with hepatitis C” that “left The Gambler with liver disease, paralyzing back pain and other agonizing problems.”

In April 2018, he cancelled a farewell tour and his rep told ABC News, “Kenny Rogers has been working through a series of health challenges. His doctors fully expect the outcome to be great, but they have advised him to cancel all performances through the end of the year to focus on recuperation.” He was also diagnosed with skin cancer in 2014, writing on Instagram, “Had a bit of skin cancer removed today. I recommend everyone go get checked.”

In May 2019, though, Rogers told Reuters that there was a lot of misinformation about his health and stated that he was planning on “sticking around.”

Here’s what you need to know:


The Family Planned a Small Private Memorial Service Due to the COVID-19 Emergency

GettyWanda Miller and Kenny Rogers.

At the time of Rogers’ death, funerals across the United States were being affected by governmental orders not to gather in groups of more than 10 or more than 50 or in some cases due to shelter in place orders because of coronavirus. Rogers’ family took note of that when announcing his funeral plans, writing, “The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”

There had been other stories about Rogers’ declining health for some time. For example, in June 2019, to combat rumors about his declining health, his official Instagram page acknowledged that he had been hospitalized for dehydration. He was said to be completing physical therapy.

That same year, he cancelled appearances at several venues, but his rep said, “His doctors fully expect the outcome to be great. But they have advised him to cancel all performances through the end of the year to focus on recuperation.”

The family took note of Rogers’ long career in its statement, writing, “In a career that spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world. 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. Rogers, with twenty-four number-one 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 has been voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People.”

According to NBC, Rogers retired in 2015, saying, “I’ve done this long enough” and indicating that he wanted to spend time with his children.

The Country Music Association tweeted, “Country Music has lost the great Kenny Rogers, who has forever left a mark on Country Music’s history. His family and friends are in our thoughts during this difficult time.”

Rogers was a native Texan, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote on his Twitter account, “The Houston born singer is a music legend & will be sorely missed.”

Rogers was survived by wife Wanda and his five children. He married Wanda Miller in 1997 and was married to her at the time of his death. They had twin boys together.

READ NEXT: Kenny Rogers’ Wife Wanda Miller


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