Oprah Winfrey’s father Vernon Winfrey dies at 89

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Oprah Winfrey with her father Vernon (Instagram/OprahWinfrey)
Oprah Winfrey with her father Vernon (Instagram/OprahWinfrey)

Oprah Winfrey’s father, Vernon Winfrey, has died at the age of 89 after a battle with cancer.

Ms Winfrey announced his death in his home city of Nashville, Tennesee, in an Instagram post.

“Yesterday with family surrounding his bedside I had the sacred honor 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. That Peace still abides. All is well. Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts.”

Ms Winfrey said the family held a "Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Celebration" at his home on 4 July with a performance from gospel singer Wintley Phipps.

“He FELT the love and revelled in it until he could no longer speak,” she said.

Mr Winfrey was a Metro Nashville Council member for 16 year and owned a barbershop in the city for more than 50 years.

Mr Winfrey was born in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1933 and later served in the US Army during the Korean War.

He and Ms Winfrey’s mother Vernita Lee reportedly spent just one night together, which resulted in the media impresario’s conception.

Ms Winfrey spent her early childhood at her father’s hometown of Kosciusko, Mississippi, and in Milwaukee with Ms Lee, who died in 2018.

She lived with her father in Nashville, between the ages of 7 and 9 and during her teens.

Ms Winfrey attributed her success to her father’s influence in an interview with the Washington Post in 1986.

“If I hadn’t been sent to my father (when I was 14), I would have gone in another direction,” she said.

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

Nashville Mayor John Cooper paid tribute to the former council member.

“I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Vernon Winfrey,” Mr Cooper wrote on social media.

“Vernon served on Metro Council for 16 years, and 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.”

In an article on Oprah Daily, Ms Winfrey wrote that she had spent time with her father in recent weeks.

She shared the news last week that he had been battling cancer.