Country legend Kenny Rogers cuts short farewell tour

Country legend Kenny Rogers on Wednesday scrapped the final dates on what he has billed as a farewell tour, citing unspecified health concerns.

The 79-year-old singer, best known for the hits “Lady” and “The Gambler,” has been “working through a series of health challenges,” his management said in a statement.

“His doctors fully expect the outcome to be great, but they have advised him to cancel all performances through the end of the year to focus on recuperation,” it said.

Rogers, whose easygoing ballads have won him a fan base well beyond the country world, spent much of the past two years on a tour that culminated in a star-studded farewell concert in October in Nashville.

He scrapped dates that were to include two nights at the Beacon Theatre in New York and an appearances at the Stagecoach country festival in California.

“I didn’t want to take forever to retire,” Rogers said in the statement.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to fans over the course of the past two years,” he said, adding that he could “never properly thank them for the encouragement and support they’ve given me throughout my career.”

The Texas-born singer came to prominence through his collaborations with Dolly Parton and his appearances on film and television programs, especially “The Muppet Show.”

He has found mainstream appeal by bringing rockabilly and jazz touches to his light country songs, as well as by recording popular renditions of Christmas favorites.

Rogers, who has been married five times, said when announcing the final tour that he wanted to spend more time with his family including twin sons who are now 13.

While primarily active in the United States, he is the namesake of a chicken restaurant chain that remains active in Asia and the Middle East after closing down at home.

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