Oprah Winfrey took to Instagram on Saturday to share a tribute to her father Vernon, who passed away Friday after battling cancer. He was 88.
“Less than a week ago we honored my father in his own backyard,” Oprah captioned a clip of her father alongside gospel singer Wintley Phipps. “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.”
“Yesterday with family surrounding his bedside, I had the sacred honor of witnessing the man responsible for my life, take his last breath,” she continued. “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.”
The news arrives less than a week after Oprah surprised her father by throwing him a barbeque in Nashville on the Fourth of July, which she called “Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day.”
Vernon was a well known barber in his community, and also served as a member of Nashville’s Metro City Council for 16 years. Oprah’s mother, Vernita Lee, died in 2018 at 83.
“So we’ve been planning a backyard barbecue, that’s actually more than a backyard barbecue. It’s for ‘Vernon Winfrey Appreciation Day,’” she said in the below clip. “‘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 captioned the clip, “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.”
On Father’s Day, Oprah shared another tribute to Vernon on her website Oprah Daily, reflecting on how he raised her during Winfrey’s childhood in Nashville.
“My father was strict, he was disciplined, always afraid that I was gonna stray from the path of righteousness he was trying to lay before me,” Oprah wrote. “So today I salute my father, Vernon Winfrey, and all the fathers who’ve done the best they knew at the time to give you, me, us, the guidance and support they were capable of. I know firsthand how the trajectory of life can change by the positive influence of a good father.”