Sandy Rogers is mourning the death of her brother, who died of natural causes at age 81 while in hospice care. The Grammy-winning singer was known for hits including “The Gambler” and “Islands in the Stream.” Biography: Kenny Rogers airs at 9 p.m. EST Monday, April 13, 2020 on A&E. The two-hour documentary was filmed before his death and features his last on-camera interview. It is part of a series based on country legends.
Sandy Rogers will speak on the documentary, sharing what it was like growing up with the man who would become a legend, his finals days and rumors involving Dolly Parton. Sandy Rogers is a twin, and she is significantly younger than Kenny.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sandy Rogers Said She Doesn’t Want Anyone to Forget Her Brother, Kenny Rogers
Sandy Rogers said she does not want anyone to forget her brother, Kenny Rogers. She told Fox News she agreed to speak on the documentary as a tribute to her brother, and as a way of giving back for everything he did for her family.
She described her brother as a humble person, who did not believe he was a good singer. He simply liked to entertain people, he would say.
She told Fox she is still mourning the death, and sometimes has trouble understanding that he is gone. Still, she said, she knows she will see him in heaven.
“I don’t want anybody to forget him,” she told Fox News. “I know fans just can’t get enough of him, and that is good. He was good to everybody. He was a jokester, but he helped everybody. That’s how we were raised to be and he never forgot that. He did an amazing job. He never saw himself as this icon. He would always say, ‘I’m not a great singer, but I like to entertain people.’ And he was a very good entertainer. I just can’t say enough about him. He’s my brother. I love him. We all loved him. Sometimes I don’t deal with this very well. I still can’t believe he’s gone, but I know I’ll see him again. We’ll see him one day in heaven.”
2. Sandy Rogers Decided to Participate in the Documentary Because She ‘Would Do Anything’ For Her Brother
Sandy Rogers was compelled to share the story of her late brother as a way of giving back to Kenny Rogers, she told Fox News. She said her brother always helped her and her family, more than anyone else ever had. She and her family wanted to help him with the project. Their brother, Roy, is also on the documentary. Sandy said that growing up, they were taught to help one another.
“Well, I would do anything for him,” she said. “He has done so much for me personally and my family, more than anybody else. We’ve been wanting to help him with this project and we did. We were taught to help each other so there was no question.”
Kenny Rogers was survived by his wife, Wanda Miller, and their five children: Kenny Jr., Christopher, Jordan, Carole and Justin, according to PEOPLE. His career spanned decades. In that time, he earned three Grammys and 18 American Music Awards. He was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Rogers had 120 singles.
3. Sandy Rogers Is a Twin & Was One of Kenny Rogers’ Younger Siblings
Sandy Rogers is a twin. She and her twin are significantly younger than Kenny Rogers, so she did not have as many memories growing up with him, she told Fox News. One thing she did remember, though, is Kenny drinking milk right out of the jug.
She said that she got to know her brother better when they were older. She would go to visit him in Las Vegas over spring break, she said in the interview.
“My twin and I are much younger than him, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time with him. I just remember him going to the kitchen, getting a jug of milk and drinking out of it,” she said with a laugh. “We remember him doing that very vividly. I remember he would have us come to Las Vegas and visit him during spring break That’s when we really got to know him as a person.”
Kenny Rogers also fathered twins. His sons, 15-year-old Justin and Jordan, are identical twins.
4. Kenny Rogers’ Family Struggled Financially When He Was Growing Up, His Sister, Sandy, Said
Sandy Rogers spoke about the struggles their family faced with money when she and Kenny Rogers were growing up. She discussed the memories on the documentary. Even though they had little money, she said they had an abundance of faith. They lived in government-funded housing in Houston, Texas.
“We struggled, you know, but we had faith that we would make it through,” she said.
The housing project was a community where “everybody knew everybody” and “everybody got along,” she said.
Kenny Rogers’ brother, Roy, was also featured on the documentary and spoke of their roots and hardships.
“We were poor, there’s no doubt about that,” Roy Rogers said on the documentary.
Kenny Rogers’ longtime friend, Dolly Parton, also came from humble beginnings, and said she understood the struggle.
“With all that Kenny has made in his life, he like me, was brought up very poor,” Parton said of Rogers, according to PEOPLE. “We understood that world, and how much we wanted things.”
5. Sandy Rogers Was With Her Brother When He Received a Star on the Music City Walk of Fame
When Kenny Rogers was inducted into the Music City Walk on Fame of October 24, 2017, in Nashville, Tennessee, his sister, Sandy, was by his side, according to the Tennessee Star. The induction came one day before his “All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration.” He received the 80th star on the Music City Walk of Fame.
“I accomplished a lot more than I ever thought I would or probably should have. It really has been a great career and I have had a great life. This, believe it or not, was the last thing on my bucket list,” he said at the time.
Sandy Rogers said her brother announced his retirement to the family long before he actually retired. She told Fox News he was in good health while they were filming the documentary.
“I remember he said one year, ‘I’m going to retire next year,'” she said. “And then that year came and he didn’t. I don’t think in a sense that he really wanted to retire. He just figured he needed to and spend some time his [wife] Wanda and the boys. I know when we were filming this A&E special, he was doing pretty well. I remembered I had my hair colored and I asked him if he liked it. He said, ‘Why didn’t you do it before?’ Well, it wasn’t in style,” she added, laughing. “But he always remained very sweet.”