Vernon Winfrey, Oprah’s father, dies at 89

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Oprah Winfrey’s father, Vernon Winfrey, has died at the age of 89.

Oprah confirmed in an Instagram post that her father died Friday in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Yesterday, with my family around his bedside, I had the sacred honor of seeing the man responsible for my life breathe his last,” the media mogul wrote. “We could feel the peace entering the room as he passed away.”

Details on funeral plans were not immediately released.

Earlier this week, Oprah surprised her dad by throwing him a surprise barbecue in Nashville on July 4th. The event was called “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day,” which included a barber chair to honor his long career as a barber and owning his own shop in Nashville for nearly 50 years.

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

Oprah spent her early childhood in 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 from age 7 to 9 and during his teens.

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