(AP) – Dolly Parton says “a big ole chunk” of her heart is gone with the death of her friend, Kenny Rogers. Rogers died Friday night at the age of 81.  Parton shared an emotional tribute to Rogers on social media over the weekend.

Tanya Tucker says the world “is left with a big shadow, center stage where Kenny Rogers stood.” Bill Anderson calls Rogers “a great artist and interpreter of songs.”

Don Henley says Rogers gave him some of the best career advice he ever got, “You’d better be nice to the people you meet on the way up, because you’re going to meet those same people on the way back down.”

Rogers and Henley had a long relationship that dates back to the late 1960’s. At the time, Henley was playing drums for a band called “Shiloh”. Rogers helped the band get a record deal and produced their first album.

Mickey Gilley says Rogers played bass on the first song Gilley had that charted in Houston.

Comedian Patton Oswalt, who played a stalker who shoots Rogers on an episode of “Reno 911!,” says the cast loved Rogers and he was “a joy to be around.”

Rogers, who was born and raised in Houston rose to fame in the late 1960’s as a member of the First Edition. They had their own network TV show and scored radio hits with “Something’s Burning”, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” and “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In”.

Rogers went solo in the 1970’s and began a long string of hits with 1977’s “Lucille”.  His husky voice was a constant presence on both the pop and country charts with “The Gambler”, “Coward of the County” and “Lady”.

He was also a successful actor with numerous TV and movie credits.

Rogers died at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia after a long illness. He is survived by his wife and five children.

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