The Grand Ole Opry is still having shows, although without an audience, due to coronavirus. Vince Gill performed on the Opry stage on Saturday, March 21, and used his time to pay a tearful tribute to his good friend, Kenny Rogers, who had just passed away.
"Sweet Music Man" is from Rogers' third studio album, Daytime Friends, released in 1977. Reba McEntire later covered the song on Greatest Hits Volume III: I'm a Survivor album, released in 2001. McEntire also posted a touching tribute to Rogers shortly after he passed away.
"Kenny, Go rest high on that mountain," McEntire said. "Please tell mama and daddy hi for me. Thank you for your friendship and your love. We are going to miss you but we are so happy you're singing with the Angels in heaven. Can't wait to see you again one of these days. Rest in peace my friend."
Rogers passed away on Friday, March 20, in Georgia. Rogers, who had been under hospice care at the time of his death, was 81 years old. He is survived by his wife, Wanda Miller, and five children, including 15-year-old twin sons.
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"The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81," the family announced via social media. "Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family."
The family has asked that those wishing to honor Rogers' memory make a contribution to the Grammy COVID-19 Relief Fund. The family picked that organization to "help music creators/professionals without work during the coronavirus pandemic. Kenny always wholeheartedly supported musicians, crew members & music personnel."
The family is holding a private memorial for now, and will schedule a public service at a later date.
Gill was joined on stage by Marty Stuart and Brad Paisley. The singers performed to an empty venue, since the Grand Ole Opry is only streaming its shows, at least for the immediate future, because of coronavirus. The Grand Ole Opry is tentatively scheduled to reopen on April 4. Updates can be found at Opry.com.
Photo Credit: Getty / Terry Wyatt