American country pop legend Kenny Rogers, who enjoyed immense popularity in the 1970s and 1980s with hit songs including “Lucile,” “The Gambler,” and “Lady,” died on Friday (U.S. time). He was 81.
Kenny Rogers was born in Houston, Texas in 1938. Rogers had dreamed of becoming a singer since high school, and earned fame as a member of the band “The New Christy Minstrels” by presenting a mix of folk, rock and country music.
Rogers started his solo career in 1974, and received his first Grammy Award in 1977 for the song “Lucile,” which depicts the solitude of a man who lost his wife. The song swept the American country music and pop music charts, and gave Rogers the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
The following year, the music icon clinched his second Grammy in the same category with the song “The Gambler,” further solidifying his stardom. The song “Lady,” composed by Lionel Richie, enjoyed popularity around the world in 1980 by remaining atop the Billboard main single chart “Hot 100” for six weeks.
Rogers released more than 65 albums and recorded 120 million albums sold. He also had a Korean tour in 1998.
Rogers was active in many fields including film and publishing. He published “Kenny Rogers America,” a collection of photos he took while traveling across the U.S., in 1986, and his autobiography “Luck or Something Like It” in 2012.
He embarked on his retirement concert tour in December 2015, but had to cancel all the remaining concerts due to health problems after his last performance held in North Carolina in April 2018.
“I was really happy to say goodbye to the fans during the ‘The Gambler's Last Deal’ tour for the past two years,” Rogers said in a statement at the time. “No words would be enough to describe my gratitude for the courage and support fans have given me and the happiness that I have enjoyed throughout my life as singer.”
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