Kenny Rogers: Lee Brice Calls Opening up for Singer One of the Highlights of His Life

It was the music of Kenny Rogers that Lee Brice grew up on, never dreaming as a child that he would one day open for the country music icon. Brice is speaking out about the passing of Rogers, and why his loss feels so personal.

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"The first time I met Kenny Rogers was when my daddy, Kenny, was playing him on an 8 track in a tiny carpet floor house," Brice shared on social media. "The next time I met Kenny Rogers, I was playing a show with him, which is still one of the biggest highlights of my life." Brice's "I Hope You're Happy Now" duet partner, Carly Pearce, also spoke out about Rogers' passing on social media as well.

"My heart is aching with the country music community over the loss of a legend, Kenny Rogers," Pearce posted. "His music impacted and shaped so many of our lives. Country music will never be the same."

Brice and Pearce just dropped an acoustic version of "I Hope You're Happy Now." The song appears on Pearce's latest self-titled album, which was released in February.

Rogers passed away on Friday, March 20. He had been under hospice care at the time of his death. Rogers is survived by his fifth wife, Wanda Miller, and five children, including 15-year-old twin sons. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, his family is holding a private burial, with a public ceremony to be held at a later date. In his memory, his family has asked that fans make a donation to the COVID-10 relief fund, through the Recording Academy's MusiCares program.

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"Several people have asked where donations can be made in Kenny's name," a statement posted on social media read. "We suggest the [Recording Academy and MusiCares] COVID-19 Relief Fund to help music creators/professionals without work during the coronavirus pandemic. Kenny always wholeheartedly supported musicians, crew members & music personnel. You can make a donation in honor of Kenny here: http://grammy.com/musicares."

Photo Credit: Getty / Lisa Lake