The legendary Kenny Rogers has had one of the most successful and longest-lived careers of any artist of his generation, but he still hadn't achieved the pinnacle of country success -- induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame -- until this year.

The singer was announced as one of the 2013 inductees at a ceremony in Nashville last week, and he teared up while talking to reporters afterward, saying how blessed he is to get to share the experience with his 8-year-old twin boys.

"They give me a purpose in my life," Rogers said at a press conference. "The greatest gift about this honor is that it happened in my lifetime so I could share it with my boys."

He added that his longtime fans weren't the only ones confused by the fact that he wasn't included previously. "I have two older sons who thought I was already in the Hall of Fame," he said. "I didn't have the heart to tell them any different."

Rogers -- whose enormous catalog of hits includes all-time classics like 'The Gambler,' 'Lucille,' 'Sweet Music Man' and 'Lady' -- is planning to bring his kids with him to the induction ceremony, and he's also planning to invite Dolly Parton, a longtime friend and his duet partner on 'Islands in the Stream,' which was a career single for both of them.

The entertainer said he's actually glad the honor is coming so late in his career, instead of at his commercial peak. "I had so much going on back then, and now it has more personal significance than professional significance," he observed. "There's a huge distinction between the two."

He added, "It's not the end of my journey, but it is certainly the high point, no matter what else I accomplish."

Rogers will be officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame alongside Bobby Bare and Cowboy Jack Clement at an invitation-only Medallion Ceremony later this year.

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