Dolly Parton paid tribute to Kenny Rogers on Instagram on Saturday. The country music legend mourned the loss of her longtime musical partner in a video shot at her home hours after his death was announced. Rogers died of natural causes on March 20, at age 81.
In the video, Parton is seen sitting at her piano as she tells fans that she found out about Rogers’ death when she turned on the morning news to find out the latest on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Parton says she is heartbroken, and that she believes her late friend is in “a better place” — and that his spirit will go to bat for everyone suffering amid the current worldwide health pandemic.
“I know that we all know that Kenny is in a better place than we are today and I’m pretty sure that he’s going to be talking to God sometime today — if he ain’t already — and he’s going to be asking him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness,” Parton told her fans. “I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart’s broken, a big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today.”
Parton also held up a photo of her and Rogers and began to cry as she showed it to fans.
“God bless you Kenny, fly high straight into the arms of God,” Parton said. “To the rest of you, keep the faith.”
Parton captioned the post by noting that — beyond her musical success with Rogers — she loved him as a “wonderful man and a true friend.”
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You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. So you be safe with God and just know that I will always love you, dolly.
In comments attached to the post, some fans offered Parton their deepest condolences. Others thanked her for her beautiful tribute to the legendary singer she worked with for nearly 40 years.
“Dolly he sure loved you. What a character. There never has been and never will be another one like him. Love you,” fellow country singer Reba McEntire wrote.
McEntire also posted a tribute to Rogers in which she said she knows he is now singing with the angels.
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Kenny, Go rest high on that mountain. Please tell mama and daddy hi for me. Thank you for your friendship and your love. We are going to miss you but we are so happy you’re singing with the Angels in heaven. Can’t wait to see you again one of these days. Rest in peace my friend.
Parton and Rogers’ first collaboration was in 1983, coming in the form of the chart-topping duet, “Islands in the Stream.” The duo went on to record several more albums and singles together, and Parton was even by Rogers’ side for his farewell stage performance in Nashville in 2017.
McEntire, meanwhile, toured with Rogers in the 1990s and worked with him on the TV movie, Luck of the Draw: The Gambler Returns, in 1991.
In addition to his work with Parton and McEntire, Rogers was best known for his hit songs “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” and “Lady.”