Oprah Winfrey Speaks out After Dad Vernon's Death

Oprah Winfrey was reeling on Saturday after news spread about the death of her father, Vernon Winfrey. The elder Winfrey was 88 when he passed away, reportedly losing his battle with cancer and leaving behind his own legacy in Nashville as a barber. Winfrey shared some words on social media after the death was announced.

"Less than a week ago we honored my father in his own backyard. My friend and gospel singer Wintley Phipps saluted him with song. He FELT the love and reveled in it until he could no longer speak," Winfrey wrote. "Yesterday with family surrounding his bedside, I had the sacred honor of witnessing the man responsible for my life, take his last breath. 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."

Winfrey is referencing how she had just celebrated him on July 4, calling it "Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day" this year. The hope was to give him a chance to celebrate his life while he still could, battling cancer up till the end. He got his own barber chair to sit in at the gathering and Oprah Winfrey captioned a post saying she gave him his "flowers."

"My father is ill and so we wanted to be able to have all of his friends come and celebrate him while he's able to receive the joy," Winfrey says in the clip posted to Instagram. Gayle King appears, too, adding that Vernon had no clue they were celebrating him, thinking it was a "Fourth of July thing," according to the CBS morning host.

Oprah Winfrey has been by her father's side in Nashville for a bit at this point, moving in to take care while he fights cancer. The type of cancer hasn't been revealed, but Winfrey's actions are no surprise to those familiar with her relationship with her father.


"I had a father who took responsibility for me, even though he knew I could have been somebody else's child," Winfrey said in an OWN special focusing on black fatherhood. "My mother and father never married. They had sex one time. He gets a letter after I'm born saying, 'Send money. You have a daughter.' And the reason he did, he said, is because it could have been him. And the responsibility that he took for me, not just a responsibility but care and love and direction and support as a young teenage girl, is the thing that made the difference in me being who I am now or somebody you would have never, ever heard of," she said in the special. "So that's the story I know of Black fathers – the ones I grew up with and the man I know. The narrative of the absentee father, it's not accurate that that is the only picture. That's what I want to say."