(CNN) – Vernon Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey’s father, died late Friday after battling cancer, Oprah announced in a statement. He was 89.
“Yesterday with family around his bed, I had the sacred honor of seeing the man responsible for my life take his last breath,” Oprah said in a tribute to her father shared on Instagram. “We could feel peace entering the room as she left.”
A tribute written on Oprah Daily, Oprah’s lifestyle store, says Oprah was able to spend time with her father in Nashville during his final weeks.
On July 4, Vernon was surprised with a “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Celebration” and backyard barbecue, where he was surrounded by friends and loved ones.
The celebration was a way to give her father his “flowers while he’s still good enough to smell them,” Oprah said in an earlier post.
During the celebration, Oprah’s friend and gospel singer Wintley Phipps sang for him. “He FEELED the love and delighted in it until he could no longer speak,” she wrote.
Vernon was a well-known barber in his community and served on the Metro Nashville Council for 16 years.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Vernon Winfrey. Vernon served on the Metro Council for 16 years and dedicated his life to entrepreneurship, shaving and mentoring young men in the community,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said on Twitter said. “An Army veteran and deacon, he leaves a legacy of service.”
Oprah’s mother, Vernita Lee, died in 2018 at 83. Lee was born in Mississippi and gave birth to Winfrey as a young woman. Lee and Vernon never married.
This story was first published on CNN.com, “Vernon Winfrey, Oprah’s father and former board member, is dead.”