Oprah Winfrey’s father Vernon dies aged 89

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Oprah Winfrey

US TV star Oprah Winfrey’s father, Vernon Winfrey, has died at the age of 89.

The presenter confirmed the news 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, Winfrey surprised her father by throwing him a surprise barbecue in Nashville on the July 4.

The event was called “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day”, which included a barber chair to honour his long career as a barber and owning his own shop in Nashville for nearly 50 years.

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

Winfrey spent her early childhood at her father’s hometown 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 seven and nine and during her teens.

“If I hadn’t been sent to my father (when I was 14), I would have gone in another direction,” Winfrey told the Washington Post in 1986.

“I could have made a good criminal. I would have used these same instincts differently.”

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