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Oprah Winfrey Shares Her Dad Has Died at Age 88 Following Illness: 'We Could Feel Peace Enter the Room'

·3-min read
NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 2: Dr. Barbara Winfrey (L to R), Stedman Graham, Vernon Winfrey and daughter Oprah Winfrey arrive at the opening of Charlie's War at the Nashville Film Festival at the Green Hills Regal Cinema May 2, 2003 in Nashville Tennessee. (Photo by Adriane Jaeckle/ Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 2: Dr. Barbara Winfrey (L to R), Stedman Graham, Vernon Winfrey and daughter Oprah Winfrey arrive at the opening of Charlie's War at the Nashville Film Festival at the Green Hills Regal Cinema May 2, 2003 in Nashville Tennessee. (Photo by Adriane Jaeckle/ Getty Images)

Adriane Jaeckle/ Getty

Oprah Winfrey's father Vernon has died. He was 88.

Vernon - who was a barber and businessman in Nashville - died on Friday after battling cancer. Media mogul Oprah, 68, posted a tribute to her father on Saturday.

"Vernon Winfrey 1933-2022," Oprah wrote in the caption. "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," the TV host wrote, alongside a video of the moment.

She continued, "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 🙏🏾," she ended the caption.

On Monday, Oprah celebrated the 4th of July by throwing her father a special surprise party.

In a video shared on her Instagram, Oprah said that although she was hosting a backyard barbecue, the true reason for the occasion was to hold a Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day.

"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," she said while showing off the banner behind her in her father's honor.

When asked by her best friend Gayle King if her father was "excited" about the celebration, Oprah said, "He doesn't even know that this is for him."

"He thinks it's a Fourth of July thing," she continued. "He doesn't know ... He's gonna walk out and see everything."

Running down the menu for the event, Oprah said she was serving fried chicken, turkey, burgers "and all that stuff."

She then wrapped the video by showing her father taking in the moment in a spot he knew best. "My dad is a barber so we put him in the barber chair," she shared as she showed her dad sitting down across the yard.

In the caption of her post, Oprah wrote, "Giving my father his 'flowers' while he's still well enough to smell them. Happy 4th of July as you gather with your family and friends. Remember to celebrate each other 💐"

Mandatory Credit: Photo by MediaPunch/Shutterstock (9993229b) Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences Hall Of Fame, Walt Disney World, Orlando, USA - 04 Oct 1994
Mandatory Credit: Photo by MediaPunch/Shutterstock (9993229b) Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences Hall Of Fame, Walt Disney World, Orlando, USA - 04 Oct 1994

MediaPunch/Shutterstock

In June 2021, Oprah spoke with PEOPLE about her father ahead of the OWN special titled Honoring Our Kings, Celebrating Black Fatherhood, in which she co-hosted with This Is Us alum Sterling K. Brown.

"I had a father who took responsibility for me, even though he knew I could have been somebody else's child," she said of Vernon.

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"My mother and father never married," she added. "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."

"I saw that over and over again in my father's barbershop. Men would come in, hardworking men, doing everything they could in their lives to support their families, working sometimes two and three jobs to do that," she continued. "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."