Kenny Rogers' death is currently hitting the country music world as stars and personalities in Nashville and beyond are waking up. The country superstar, known for countless iconic tracks, died at 10:25 p.m. on Friday night, according a statement from his family. They made his death public just hours later, striking a major blow to the country community overnight.
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. https://t.co/adxAgiMW2s pic.twitter.com/nggWiiotMT— Kenny Rogers (@_KennyRogers) March 21, 2020
Countless tributes to the "Islands in the Stream" and "Lady" singer have been pouring in from fans, friends and onlookers. Country musicians and radio personalities are just now starting to react to Rogers' passing and are taking to Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms to share their heartbreak over the news. Many are also sharing personal experiences with the music legend, who was also known for his time as The First Edition's lead singer.
Scroll through to see what some of country music's legends and bright stars are saying about Rogers.
I can't express on twitter the impact Kenny Rogers the artist and the man had on me. He was always very kind and fun to be around. Rest In Peace Gambler...— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) March 21, 2020
Blake Shelton is a modern country music heavyweight and reality TV staple as a coach on The Voice. However, he may not have gotten to where he is today with the influence of Rogers, with Shelton himself noting "The Gambler" had an enormous impact on him.
Bobby Bones, Dancing With the Stars winner and host of The Bobby Bones Show, shared the above footage of his first interview with Rogers. He also noted their "friendly relationship" they kept afterwards, as well.
"RIP Kenny . This was many years ago . The first time we met. On the radio show," Bones wrote. "For years after that, we maintained a friendly relationship off the air too."
LeAnn Rimes was one of the first to sound off on Rogers' death overnight, not long after his death was made public. She noted the "We've Got Tonight" singer's legendary status.
I had the huge honor of producing songs with this American Giant. He was kind, funny and one of the greatest conveyers of a lyric in the history of music. The world will miss you forever. Thank you for the decades of incredible music! You define a generation. #RIPKennyRogers pic.twitter.com/zoi699yeFx— John Rich (@johnrich) March 21, 2020
John Rich, one half of Big & Rich, looked back on his time working with Rogers and also called him a generation-defining artist.
Thank you Kenny Rogers for being a part of our lives for so long. Your songs are woven into the fabric of our memories, classics, that will live on in the musical heart of a world that will miss you so much.— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) March 21, 2020
Rest in peace Gambler
The Charlie Daniels Band's leader was also among the country legends paying tribute to their peer. Daniels shared an eloquent note about how deeply Rogers' songs are embeded in people's lives.
Wynonna was another country giant who shared tributes to Rogers, noting how nice the star had been to her over the years. She accompanied her message with a photo alongside Rogers and Lionel Richie.
Also, I woke up the news of @_KennyRogers passing. It's not about #1s. It's about the legacy you leave behind and he was a great man. He changed Country Music and had a voice like no other. Thank you Kenny. Thank you. 🙏🏼— Jake Owen (@jakeowen) March 21, 2020
One of country's current stars, Jake Owen, shared some kind words about Rogers, noting he woke up to the sad news. He praised "The Gambler" for having "a voice like no other."
You never know how much you love somebody until they're gone. I've had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. pic.twitter.com/hIQLIvt8pr— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 21, 2020
As of this writing, Rogers' longtime friend and collaborator Dolly Parton is the latest to speak out on the news, posting a short text note along with a video addressing the passing. The pair shared the stage countless times and sang "Islands in the Stream" together, with their recording of the song now known as one of the greatest duets of all time.
"I loved Kenny with all my heart," she said before tearing up. "My heart is broken, and a big old chunk of it has gone with him today."