Tragic news broke on Monday as Paula Deen announced that her brother had passed away. Earl “Bubba” Wayne Hiers Jr. was 65-years-old at the time of his passing. He had been battling pancreatic cancer. Deen spoke to PEOPLE about the loss of her younger brother.
“Bubba was the greatest brother who was loved by so many people," she said. "We will miss him dearly.”
Hiers ended up publishing his own cookbook in 2007. The work was entitled Uncle Bubba’s Savannah Seafood. His sister played a big role in helping him carve his own path in the culinary world.
His book is described as showing its readers, “how to prepare both the dishes that made his restaurant famous and the home cooking that he and his older sister, Food Network star Paula Deen, grew up eating in their Granny Paul's kitchen.”
Fans of Deen will know that Hiers was also her business partner. The two had been joint partners at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House located in Savannah, Georgia. The business wound up shutting down in 2014 after a 10-year run. The two dealt with a harassment suit that was made from a past employee in 2012.
Their hometown news source, SavannahNow.com, provided some details on the lawsuit, saying that, "the bulk of the charges in the 33-page suit made by Lisa Jackson charged that the family-run operation, which includes The Lady & Sons restaurant, engaged in a persistent pattern of racial discrimination in the workplace."
During the process, Deen had admitted to using a racial slur 30 years prior.
Deen still owns the restaurant, this time running it with her sons, Jamie and Bobby. The new space is called Paula Deen’s Creek House.0comments
Hiers leaves behind two children, his son Jay and daughter Corrie, along with a grandson. PEOPLE notes that the funeral will on Friday with any donations going towards the Mayo Clinic.
His nephews, Bobby and Jamie, followed in the family's footsteps and both have appeared in various capacities on Food Network.