The bond between Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie went back to when the American Idol judge penned Rogers' hit song "Lady" in the early '80s. On Saturday, Rogers passed away at the age of 81, leaving Richie, and all those in the music industry, stunned to learn the news.
The "All Night Long" singer wrote an emotional tribute to his long-time friend. Richie and Rodgers also performed together at various events, including at Bonnaroo in 2012 and in Las Vegas. In his farewell message, Richie called Rogers him one of his "closest friends." Rogers' "Lady" rose to No. 1 on multiple charts.
"Today I lost one of my closest friends," Richie wrote. "So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken... My prayers go out to Kenny's Family."
Today I lost one of my closest friends 💔So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken... My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family.🙏 pic.twitter.com/2lbwFffeYq— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) March 21, 2020
In an interview with One Country, Richie recalled how their hit song came to be. Attending Rogers' farewell concert in 2017, Richie shared how the two ended up piecing the song together while in the bathroom together.
"I was in the bathroom, on the counter, because I didn't realize Kenny was going to get it so fast. So he said, 'let's do 'Lady.' Well, I hadn't finished 'Lady.' I didn't have the second verse. And I'm never going to live it down," he explained. "He started sending toilet paper back and said, 'Do you have the second verse.' I said, "no I got the second verse, just hold on for a minute.' Kenny Rogers does it to me every time."
Rogers' impact in the music industry reached many, including Garth Brooks. The "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair" singer called the late country star a "hero" to him.
""[He] became one of my heroes," Brooks wrote in a letter to Billboard. "Just watching how he treated his band, his guys, everybody, they'd all been with him for 100 years. It was like, 'This is how you do it.' I'm really, really thankful that Bob was smart enough to tell me to get on that tour."
Perhaps the most emotional of farewells belonged to one of Rogers' duet partners and long-time friends, Dolly Parton. She put forth a heartfelt video expressing her gratitude towards him and paying tribute to "a wonderful man."
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