Kenny Rogers, the superstar musician and actor known for “The Gambler” song and TV movies, died March 20 at age 81 at his Sandy Springs home.

“Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” said a statement issued on behalf of the family by Keith Hagan, Rogers’ publicist.

Kenny Rogers.
(Photo by John Mathew Smith and, via Wikipedia under Creative Commons license.)

“In a career that spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music,” the statement said. Rogers was successful in the rock, country and jazz genres, with such hits as “Lady,” “Islands in the Stream,” “Lucille,” “She Believes in Me” and “Through the Years.”

Rogers, who retired from performing in 2017, is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and a recipient of multiple Grammy awards and Country Music Association awards.

Rogers with some of the awards for his top-selling records in a photo provided by publicist Keith Hagan.

Over the years, Rogers lived in various homes in the areas of Buckhead, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs. Locally, he mostly kept a low profile, though demolition and tree-clearing at one of his homes on Sandy Springs’ Long Island Drive 15 years ago drew some neighborhood complaints. Another former home, a mansion on Buckhead’s Garmon Road, was in the news in recent years for serving as an illicit party and event venue under different owners. Said one resident during the party mansion controversy, “Everybody’s saying, ‘Why did Kenny Rogers have to move?’”

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the plans for memorial services. “The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency,” said Hagan’s statement. “They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”

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John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.