Country music icon Kenny Rogers has announced the cancellation of the rest of his farewell world tour on doctor’s orders, citing “health challenges”.

The 79 year old legend, known for hits like ‘The Gambler’, ‘Islands In The Stream’ with Dolly Parton, and ‘Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)’, a song whose reputation was spurred on by use in The Big Lebowski, has enjoyed a career dating all the way back to the 1950s.

Almost three years ago, he announced that he’d be going on one final world tour to say goodbye to his legions of fans around the globe, intending to spend more time with his fifth wife, Wanda, and their two young children.

Kenny RogersKenny Rogers has cancelled the rest of his farewell world tour

Now, with only eight dates left, Texas-based Rogers has been forced to pull out of the remainder of his commitments, after “working through a series of health challenges” in recent weeks.

“His doctors fully expect the outcome to be great,” his management said in a statement on Wednesday (April 4th), but said he had been advised to cancel his commitments “to focus on recuperation.”

More: Chris Stapleton pays tribute to Kenny Rogers at Nashville gig with cover of iconic hit ‘The Gambler’

“I didn't want to take forever to retire,” Rogers himself said on Wednesday, following the announcement. “I've thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to say farewell to fans over the course of the past two years.”

He added that he had “never properly thank them for the encouragement and support they've given me throughout my career.”

The singer had admitted in an interview with Rolling Stone only last year that his declining health had started to impact his ability to perform live.

“This is all I've done for 60 years, but my mobility has gotten kind of strange, and I don't like to go on stage and have to apologise,” he reflected. “It's one of those things - you make decisions based on what life gives you. I've had a great life, I can't complain, but it's time for me to hang it up, I think.”

More: Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton perform ‘Islands In The Stream’ one last time