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Oprah Winfrey's father dies at age 88

Vernon Winfrey, a former Nashville city councilman, died Friday "with family surrounding his bedside," his daughter said in a social media post.
Vernon Winfrey and Oprah Winfrey
Vernon Winfrey and Oprah Winfrey arrive at the opening of "Charlie's War" at the Nashville Film Festival in Nashville, Tenn. on May 2, 2003.Adriane Jaeckle / Getty Images file

Vernon Winfrey, a former Nashville city councilman and a local barbershop owner, has passed away, his daughter and TV mogul Oprah Winfrey said Saturday.

He was 88.

In a heartfelt Instagram post, Oprah said her father died Friday "with family surrounding his bedside."

"I had the sacred honor of witnessing the man responsible for my life, take his last breath," she said. "We could feel Peace enter the room at his passing."

Vernon was well known in Nashville for owning Winfrey Barber & Beauty Shop and for his work as a councilman for 16 years.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper offered his "deepest condolences to the family of Vernon Winfrey" and remembered him for having "dedicated his life to entrepreneurship, barbering, and mentoring young men in the community."

"An Army veteran and deacon, he leaves behind a legacy of service,” Cooper added.

Oprah was recently in Nashville for Independence Day weekend to celebrate her father's life at a time when Vernon had been battling cancer, WSMV, NBC's Nashville affiliate reported.

However, Vernon’s cause of death has not yet been officially confirmed.

Oprah 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 7 and 9 and during her teens.