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Don Henley Shares the Best Advice Kenny Rogers Ever Gave Him

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for T.J. Martell.

Don Henley (R) congratulates Tony Martell Lifetime Entertainment Achievement Award recipient Kenny Rogers at the T.J. Martell Foundation 8th Annual Nashville Honors Gala at the Omni Nashville Hotel on February 29, 2016 in Nashville.

Don Henley is one of the many devoted fans mourning the loss of Kenny Rogers, but his connection to "The Gambler" was a deep one that played a pivotal role in his own career.

Before Henley was singing and drumming in the Eagles, he was in a band called Shiloh. Rogers not only signed the act (to Amos Records) shortly after meeting them in 1969, but produced its first album and brought them to Los Angeles, where Henley met Glenn Frey and his future bandmates.

Following Rogers' passing on Friday (March 20) at the age of 81, Henley reflected on how he was "a wise mentor to so many of us," and the impact he had on Henley's musical journey, in a statement provided to Billboard.

"Fifty years ago, The Gambler took a gamble on me and my first band from small-town Texas, and his big-hearted support launched many careers, including mine," he writes. "He also gave me some of the best career advice I 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.'"

Read Henley's statement in full below.

In addition to his tremendous talent, Kenny was a generous and caring man, a wise mentor to so many of us. He loved his friends, his family, his fellow musicians and his fans, and they loved him, right back. Fifty years ago, The Gambler took a gamble on me and my first band from small-town Texas, and his big-hearted support launched many careers, including mine. He also gave me some of the best career advice I 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.' Kenny had been struggling with a number of health issues for some time. He fought the good fight for as long as he could, but he was tired, and he was ready to make his exit. I’m just grateful that I got visit with him in the hospital, about six weeks ago, and convey my gratitude to him for all he did for me. RIP, my friend. Thanks for all the gladness you gave us.