On Friday (March 20), Kenny Rogers passed away at the age of 81. His family confirmed the news of his passing on social media:
“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 PM at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” read the family’s statement on Rogers’ social media accounts.
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
As country artists woke up the following morning (March 21), they were shocked to hear that Rogers had passed away. Many flocked to social media to share tributes to him.
Some wrote sweet notes about how much his music meant to them. Others posted pictures they took together. And there were a few artists who took the time to sit down with a guitar and sing his songs.
But one of the most touching tributes to Rogers did not come from a country singer. Instead, it came from a longtime friend and collaborator of his from the funk and R&B world…Lionel Richie.
Rogers and Richie’s friendship started in the 1980s after Richie wrote and produced the song “Lady,” which Rogers recorded and released in September 1980. The song became a number one hit.
Richie went on to record the song for his 1998 record Time, then re-recorded it as a duet with Rogers for his 2012 album Tuskegee.
The duo’s collaborations didn’t end with “Lady.” Richie went on to produce Rogers’ 1981 album Share Your Love, which contained the Top 20 songs “I Don’t Need You,” “Through the Years,” and “Share Your Love With Me.”
Richie and Rogers remained friends for decades. When artists gathered to celebrate Rogers’ retirement during a concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville in October 2017, Richie was among the guests.
After sharing such a close friendship with Rogers for so long, Richie was understandably devastated when he learned of his passing. He took to social media to mourn the loss of his pal:
“Today I lost one of my closest friends,” he wrote. “So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken. My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family.”
You can see Richie’s tribute to Rogers below. He included a slideshow of photos that shows them together at various points throughout their careers.
It was always a joy to watch Richie and Rogers share the stage. Tune in to the video below to watch their duet performance of “Lady” in remembrance of Rogers.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Rogers’ family and friends during this sad time. His legacy and music will always live on.