Legendary singer Kenny Rogers has died, but the public won’t be able to honor the crooner at a public memorial service for some time due to the coronavirus COVID 19 virus.
It’s yet another sign of the impact of coronavirus on American life.
Kenny’s family broke the heartbreaking news of his death on Twitter, although he clearly lived a long and accomplished life, dying at age 81 and leaving behind a large family (wife Wanda and five children).
Rogers’ family statement revealed that he died of “natural causes.” However, he was being cared for in a hospice when he passed away and had struggled with health issues for some time, even being hospitalized last year. Rogers, of course, was famous for such iconic tunes as “Lucille,” “Islands in the Stream,” and “The Gambler.”
The sad news broke at 1:06 a.m. on March 21, 2020. Rogers died the night before at 10:25 p.m. “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. Here’s the family’s tweet:
According to The Washington Post, Rogers was previously diagnosed with bladder cancer. His career “wound down in 2017 as he encountered health problems that included a diagnosis of bladder cancer,” The Post reported.
Here’s what you need to know about his memorial service:
The Family Is Planning Only a Small Private Memorial Service Due to the COVID-19 Emergency
It’s not only the Rogers’ family. Across the United States, people’s funerals are being altered by coronavirus. In some states, there are shelter in place orders, and in others gatherings of more than 10 people are banned. There are reports of funerals being held on Facebook Live so more people can virtually attend. Unfortunately, that means a mass public memorial service for Kenny isn’t in the cards until the coronavirus threat passes.
Rogers was the biggest name star to die since the coronavirus outbreak struck.
Kenny’s 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.”
His publicist Keith Hagan noted, according to CNN, “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.”
On his website, Rogers said, “I’ve been so lucky to have enjoyed such a long career and to have such amazing support from my fans and all who have helped me along the way, but there comes a time when I need to focus on spending time with my family. My life is about my wife and my 11-year-old twin boys right now. There are a lot of things I want to do together with them to create some special memories. I don’t have a bucket list of my own…I have a bucket list of things I want to do with them.”
Kenny’s Health Was Waning for Some Times
There had been stories about Kenny’s 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 of Texas, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote on his Twitter account, “The Houston born singer is a music legend & will be sorely missed.”
He is 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.
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