Kenny Rogers plans to 'focus on recuperation'

Kenny Rogers is ending his farewell tour early as he works through “a series of health challenges.”

The 79-year-old country music legend announced his retirement in 2015, and has spent the last two years circling the globe on The Gambler’s Last Deal — a tour named after his signature song, 1979’s “The Gambler.”

With stops scheduled in Nevada, California, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, and Louisiana through June, Rogers was nearly at the end of his goodbye concerts. But doctor’s orders means he’ll have to end the jaunt.

“Kenny Rogers has been working through a series of health challenges,” his publicist said in a statement to PEOPLE. “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.”

The canceled dates include a performance at Blackpool’s Livewire Festival in August, which was Rogers final scheduled appearance.

“I didn’t want to take forever to retire,” Rogers said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to the fans over the course of the past two years on The Gambler’s Last Deal tour. I could never properly thank them for the encouragement and support they’ve given me throughout my career and the happiness I’ve experienced as a result of that.”

2017 CMA Music Festival - Day 1
Credit: Erika Goldring/FilmMagic

Known to millions of fans around the world for hits like “Islands In the Stream,” “Through the Years,” “Lucille” and “Lady,” Rogers has had a six-decade recording career dating back to the 1950s.

Among his many accolades, Rodgers has been awarded three Grammys, 18 American Music Awards, and a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He was also honored in October with an all-star concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena that featured performances by Lionel Richie, Little Big Town, the Judds and his longtime duet partner Dolly Parton.

All In for the Gambler: Kenny Rogers' Farewell Concert Celebrati, Nashville, USA - 25 Oct 2017
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
| Credit: Invision/AP/Shutterstock

When announcing his retirement in 2015, Rogers told Savannah Guthrie and Carson Daly on the Today show that he was hoping to spend more time with his wife Wanda Miller and five kids.

“I’ve done this long enough. I wrote in my book that sometimes there’s a fine line between being driven and being selfish. And I think I crossed that line when I was younger,” he said. “I really want to be there with my kids and my wife. They’re very important to me and I don’t see enough of them.”

Rogers continued: “I have some things on my bucket list. I want to take them to Alaska for the salmon run. I have certain things I’ve done in my life that were great fun for me that I think they would enjoy. I want them to remember that I’m with them.”

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Asked then if he would miss the road, Rogers made references to his ailing health.

“I’m sure I will miss it. I swore that I would do this until I embarrassed myself,” he said. “I’m getting to where I don’t walk around well. My mobility is really driving me crazy.”