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Dolly Parton Reacts to Kenny Rogers’ Passing: ‘God Bless You, Kenny’

The two sang together on "Islands in the Stream."

Written by Lauren Laffer
Dolly Parton Reacts to Kenny Rogers’ Passing: ‘God Bless You, Kenny’
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers perform their hit duet "Islands In The Stream" at the CMT's 100 GREATEST DUETS concert. A celebration of the the Top 12 duets in country music history, the concert included live performances by 21 of country music?s biggest artists, including Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Rogers, Trace Adkins, Terri Clark and more. The two-hour concert will round out a remarkable six-hour special, CMT 100 GREATEST DUETS, which airs on Saturday, September 17. (Photo by Ed Rode/WireImage)

Fans around the world are mourning the loss of country icon Kenny Rogers. The legendary performer passed away Friday night (3/20) at his home in Georgia, surrounded by his loving family.

Rogers’ loss hit hard for everyone, including his most famous duet partner, Dolly Parton. Parton only learned of Rogers’ passing after turning on the news to hear the latest about the coronavirus pandemic. She took to social media to share a video expressing her condolences and thoughts around her dear friend’s passing.

“Well, I couldn’t believe it this morning when I got up and turned on the TV, checkin’ to see what the coronavirus was doing and they told me that my friend and singing partner Kenny Rogers had passed away,” she began. “I know that we all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to be talking to God sometime today, if he ain’t already, and he’s gonna be asking him to spread some light on this darkness going on here. But I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart is broken and a big ole chunk of it has gone with him today. I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans when I say that I will always love you.

“I just happened to have this picture when I walked out this morning of us,” she continued, holding up a framed photo and speaking between tears. “I walked out and I thought, ‘well, maybe I’ll hold that up to everybody.’ I know you’re sad as I am, but God bless you, Kenny. Fly high straight to the arms of God. And to the rest of you, keep the faith.”

Rogers and Parton famously sang together on the smash hit, “Islands in the Stream,” in 1983. The track was co-written by the members of the BeeGees. It reached No.1 on the Billboard 100 charts, giving both Rogers and Parton their second pop number-one hit.

“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,” a statement, issued by his family, read.

The family added that a small private service would be planned, with a larger celebration of life with fans to be scheduled at a later date.

Kenny Rogers’ life and career will also be highlighted on an upcoming mini-documentary, airing on A&E. The special will feature interviews with Parton, Lionel Richie, Stapleton, Reba McEntireLittle Big TownLady AntebellumJamey Johnson, and more. Biography: Kenny Rogers is scheduled to air April 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.