Country legend Kenny Rogers’ wish to bow out of his performing career on a high – and on his own terms – has been thwarted.
Ill-health has forced Rogers, 79, to pull out of the final dates of his farewell concert tour including a planned gig at the Livewire Festival in Blackpool.
Rogers began his music career in the late 1950s, dabbling in rock and jazz before settling on country and enjoying moderate success with a group called The First Edition. He went solo in 1976 and a year later enjoyed his first number 1 with Lucille. Thanks to hits such as The Gambler, We Got Tonight and Islands in The Stream with Dolly Parton Rogers crossed over from being a country star to a mainstream star and went on to sell 120 million albums worldwide.
In 2013, Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville and played Glastonbury. Two years later he announced plans for his retirement tour, The Gambler’s Last Deal, explaining that reduced mobility was hampering his ability to perform: “I don’t like to go on stage and have to apologise.”
Rogers played his last Nashville gig in October. The star-studded event featured Lionel Ritchie, The Judds and Rogers’ long-time collaborator Parton.
As well as enjoyed a stellar music career, Rogers has worked as an actor and photographer and started his own restaurant chain, Kenny Rogers Roasters.