“I loved Kenny with all my heart, and my heart’s broken.”

By Rebecca Angel Baer
March 21, 2020
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Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers
Credit: Ed Rode/WireImage/Getty Images

We all woke up this Saturday morning to the sad news that Country Music Hall of Famer, Kenny Rogers has died. His family shared the news via Rogers’ social media with the following statement:

“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.”

Many of Rogers’ songs helped form the fabric of our lives, and many are feeling this shared grief today. But for another of our favorite musicians, this loss is very personal. It’s well known that Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers were, beyond duet partners, they were dear friends. Dolly took to her Instagram this morning to open up about her feelings with all of us.

“Well, I couldn’t believe it this morning when I got up and turned on the TV, checking to see what the coronavirus was doing, and they told me that my friend and singing partner, Kenny Rogers had passed away,” she said, seated on a piano bench, adorned with a single cross of many colors. She continued, “I loved Kenny with all my heart, and my heart’s broken. And a big ‘ole chunk of it has gone with him today. And I think I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans when I say, that I will always love you.”

In the second half of her two-part post, Dolly is holding a photo of the two of them together. Her voice begins to waiver as she explains that she thought she would hold up this picture to show all of us and she says, “I know you’re as sad as I am, but God bless you Kenny, fly high. Straight to the arms of God.”

WATCH: Kenny Rogers On Alpacas, Gambling & Why He Loves Dolly

Our deepest condolences go out to the Rogers family, to his fans, and to his friend, Dolly Parton.