Lionel Richie shared a heartbreaking message following the news of Kenny Rogers’ death at 81.
“Today I lost one of my closest friends. So much laughter so many adventures to remember, my heart is broken. My prayers go out to Kenny’s Family,” Richie, 70, wrote on Instagram and Twitter Saturday.
Also in the tribute, the American Idol judge posted some of his favorite throwback photos of the pair, including the times they shared the stage together.
Famously, Richie wrote Rogers’ 1980 hit single “Lady.”
On Saturday, Rogers’ family confirmed the country icon’s death on social media.
“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” the family said in a statement.
“The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date,” the statement concluded.
Rogers previously spoke fondly of Richie and their friendship at the Lionel Richie and Friends in Concert in Las Vegas in 2012. “He’s not just a friend of mine, but the song he wrote was truly a changing point in my career,” he said of the song “Lady,” adding, “It’s one of the most identifiable songs I’ve ever done.”
In October 2017, Richie performed at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena to honor Rogers’ life and music legacy, along with Little Big Town, the Judds and Dolly Parton.
In addition to his solo music, Rogers amassed a large following well beyond the country-music world thanks to collaborations with artists such as Richie, Lynda Carter and Barry Gibb, as well as 1985’s charity song “We Are the World” with 45 other musicians.
Among Rogers’ 39 studio albums, some well-known ones include The Gambler, Kenny, Eyes That See in the Dark, She Rides Wild Horses and Share Your Love.