Like much of the country, Dolly Parton woke up to the sad news that country singer Kenny Rogers has died at the age of 81.
“Well, I couldn’t believe it this morning when I got up, 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,” Parton—whose duet with Rogers, “Islands in the Stream” became one of the biggest hits of 1983—says in a video posted on Twitter Saturday morning. “And I know that we all know that Kenny’s in a better place than we are today but I’m for sure he’s going to be talking to God some time today if he ain’t already, and he’s going to be asking him to spread some light onto this darkness going on here. But I loved Kenny with all my heart and my heart’s broken and a big ole chunk has gone with him today. And I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends, his fans, when I say that I will always love you.”
The 74-year-old then picks up a photo of her and Rogers, getting audibly emotional as she continues: “Just happened to have this picture when I walked out this morning, of us. I walked out and I thought. ‘Well, maybe I’ll hold that up to everybody. So I know you’re sad as I am but God bless you, Kenny. Fly high straight to the arms of God. And to the rest of you, keep the faith.”
“You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone,” Parton captioned the video. “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.”