Country music legend Kenny Rogers who had a series of hits, including Coward of the County and The Gambler, has died at the age of 81.

The Grammy-winning star, whose career spanned six decades, “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family”, his representative said in a statement.

Rogers, who also enjoyed success in partnership with Dolly Parton, had announced a farewell tour in 2015 but had continued performing until 2017.

The Houston-born singer, known for his trademark husky voice and silver beard, sold tens of millions of records and broke through into the world of pop.

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He also gained fame as an actor, starring in TV movies based on The Gambler and other songs, making him a superstar in the 1970s and 80s.

However, despite his crossover success, he always preferred to be thought of as a country singer.

Speaking in 2015, he said: “You either do what everyone else is doing and you do it better, or you do what no one else is doing and you don’t invite comparison.

“And I chose that way because I could never be better than Johnny Cash or Willie or Waylon at what they did.

“So I found something that I could do that didn’t invite comparison to them. And I think people thought it was my desire to change country music. But that was never my issue.”

Source: Sky News

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