Oprah's father Vernon Winfrey dies at 89

The media mogul revealed her father died on Friday surrounded by family

Vernon Winfrey at his barber shop in Nashville in 1987. AP Photo
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Oprah Winfrey’s father, Vernon Winfrey, has died at the age of 89.

The talk show host confirmed in an Instagram post that her father died in Nashville, Tennessee, on Friday.

“Yesterday with family surrounding his bedside I had the sacred honour of witnessing the man responsible for my life, take his last breath,” the media mogul wrote. “We could feel peace enter the room at his passing.”

Details about funeral plans were not immediately released.

Earlier this week, Oprah surprised her father by throwing him a barbecue in Nashville on the fourth of July. The event was called Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day, which included a barber's chair to honour his long career as a barber and having his own shop in Nashville for nearly 50 years.

Sharing a video of the occasion on Instagram, she wrote: "Less than a week ago, we honoured my father in his own backyard. My friend and gospel singer Wintley Phipps saluted him with song. He FELT the love and revelled in it until he could no longer speak."

Vernon served as a member of Nashville's Metro City Council for 16 years and was a trustee for the Tennessee State University.

Oprah spent her early childhood in her father's home town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, and in Milwaukee with her mother, Vernita Lee, who died in 2018. However, she also lived with her father in Nashville, between the ages of 7 and 9 and during her teens.

“If I hadn’t been sent to my father (when I was 14), I would have gone in another direction," Oprah told The Washington Post in 1986. "I could have made a good criminal. I would have used these same instincts differently.”

Updated: July 10, 2022, 6:38 AM
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