The world woke up to some truly shocking news on March 21: Country music legend Kenny Rogers had died. Surrounded by family and friends, he passed away from natural causes while in hospice care late on March 20. Rogers was 81.
The news triggered a wave of mourning and tributes from fans and celebrities alike. Among them was Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, who revealed on Instagram that Rogers was one of her favorite artists to play during her days as a radio DJ.
Read Robin Roberts’ full post about Kenny Rogers
Roberts took to Instagram on the morning of March 21 to react to the news of Rogers’ death, which was announced on his personal Instagram page.
“Very sad to wake up to the news that [Rogers] has passed away,” she began. “Thinking of his family and many fans. I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny and he was always such a gentleman.”
Roberts went on to say that Rogers’ music had a special place in her heart, noting that he was one of her favorite artists to play when she worked as a country music DJ in the early days of her career.
“When I was a country music DJ in Hammond, Louisiana in the early 80’s I often ended my Saturday night 9pm to 1am shift at WFPR 14Country by playing Kenny’s ‘Through The Years.’ Just one of the country legend’s many hit songs,” she continued.
Many fans were stunned by the post, with one person writing: “Wait. You were a country music DJ? How did I not know this about you?”
“A country music DJ, who’d a thought? What haven’t you done!” someone else added.
“You need to write a book ’cause that is a story I need to hear!” commented another.
Others who paid tribute to Kenny Rogers
It seems like thousands of people shared remembrances online. Among those who paid tributes were many celebrities, such as George Takei and LeAnn Rimes.
“I can’t express on twitter the impact Kenny Rogers the artist and the man had on me,” tweeted fellow country music star Blake Shelton. “He was always very kind and fun to be around. Rest In Peace Gambler…”
Lionel Richie followed up with a heartbreaking post about the pain of losing one of his “closest friends.”
“So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken… My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family,” the singer continued on Twitter.
Keith Urban was another star who paid tribute to the late country music titan, thanking Rogers “for decades of genre-bending music and collaborations – for making music that travelled the globe .. and songs that became common threads for people from all walks of life!!”
What to know about Kenny Rogers’ memorial services
Many fans are looking forward to the chance to pay their respects at a public memorial for Rogers. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, a public event like that has reportedly been ruled out at this time.
Rogers’ family has allegedly decided to have a private ceremony for the singer and will host a public memorial at a later date. Read more about that here.