Oprah Winfrey confirmed this weekend that her father, Vernon Winfrey, died on Friday of an undisclosed illness. He was 89, according to The Associated Press.
The entertainment and media mogul shared a video on Instagram Saturday of gospel singer Wintley Phipps serenading her father and praying over him in his backyard on July 4.
In the caption of her video, she shared details of his final days and death, saying that he “felt the love and reveled in it until he could no longer speak.”
“Yesterday with family surrounding his bedside I had the sacred honor of witnessing the man responsible for my life, take his last breath. We could feel Peace enter the room at his passing,” Winfrey wrote. “That Peace still abides. All is well. Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts.”
“Today” reports that Winfrey called the July 4 celebration”Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day,” so her father could spend time with family and friends.
Oprah also thanked Vernon for being the kind of father who brought “honor to my life” at the festivities, according to Oprah Daily.
Nashville television station WKRN reports that Vernon was a barber in the Tennessee capital. In a 1986 profile titled “The Man Who Saved Oprah Winfrey,” The Washington Post noted that he was also a church deacon, a city councilman, an army veteran — and a proud father who watched his daughter on television every day.
“Looking up at the television from his second head at 9:30, Vernon Winfrey smiles at the image of his daughter on the television and nods slightly to himself. ‘That’s Oprah,’ he murmurs to no one in particular, ‘that’s the Oprah we always knew,'” the publication wrote at the time.
“Today” reports that Oprah’s mother Vernita Lee died in 2018 at the age of 83. The outlet writes that Winfrey called her mother’s death “as sacred and as blessed as a passing can be” in an interview with People.
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