One of Dolly Parton's nearest and dearest has passed away and the country icon is mourning the loss.
On Wednesday afternoon (April 7), Parton took to Facebook to reveal that her uncle, Bill Owens, passed away. "I wouldn't be here if he hadn't been there," she wrote, crediting him for helping launch her career. "I knew my heart would break when he passed, and it did...He was there... there in my young years to encourage me to keep playing my guitar, to keep writing my songs, to keep practicing my singing. And he was there to help build my confidence standing on stage where he was always standing behind me or close beside me with his big ol' red Gretsch guitar."
Parton went on to list the ways in which Owens helped jumpstart her career, but the star admitted the difficulty in specifying his overall impact. "It's really hard to say or to know for sure what all you owe somebody for your success. But I can tell you for sure that I owe Uncle Billy an awful lot,” she confessed.
While Owens wrote at least 800 songs throughout his career, including many for her, he also put his pen game to work for Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs, Kris Kristofferson and more. He penned Parton's 1966 collaboration, "Put It Off Until Tomorrow," with Bill Phillips, which scored a BMI Song of the Year honor.
"I bet a lot of our own relatives don't even know all of the great things that Uncle Bill did behind the scenes through his life," she continued, "But the greatest thing he ever did for me was to help me see my dreams come true and for that I will be forever grateful."
"I'm sure that Uncle Bill's friends, fans, his wife Sandy, his kids, grandkids and great grandkids will join me when I say that we will always love you," she concluded. "Rest in peace, Uncle Bill."
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