Dolly Parton took to social media to share an emotional message for her longtime friend and singing partner, Kenny Rogers. On Friday, Rogers, 81, died at his home from natural causes under hospice care, surrounded by family.
"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," Parton, 74, began in her video message to her nearly 5 million Twitter followers.
"I know that we all know Kenny is in a better place than we are today," she added. "I'm pretty sure he's going to be talking to God some time today — if he ain't already — he's going to be asking him to spread some light onto this darkness going on here."
The pair were frequent collaborators and paired up to make some of country music's most enduring duets, including "Islands in the Stream," "Love is Strange," "Real Love'' and "You Can't Make Old Friends."
In 2017, the duo sat down with TODAY's Dylan Dreyer to talk about their friendship.
Parton explained why they never dated even though they were close friends, saying, "You know what, we were almost like brother and sister and it would almost be like incest. So we just never went there."
"I loved Kenny with all my heart and my heart's broken," she continued in her video message on Saturday, holding back tears. "A big 'ol chunk of it has gone with him today. I think I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans, when I say that I will always love you."
The usually measured Parton started choking up when she held up a photo of herself with Rogers.
"I just happened to have this picture when I walked out this morning of us," Parton said as tears began to well up. "I walked out and I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll hold that up to everybody so,' I know you're sad as I am ... God bless you Kenny, fly high straight to the arms of God. And to the rest of you, keep the faith."