Dolly Parton shared a sad personal update on her social media accounts, informing fans that her younger brother, Randy Parton, had died following a battle with cancer.
“My brother Randy has lost his battle with cancer,” Dolly wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 21. “The family and I are grieving his loss, but we know he is in a better place than we are at this time. We are a family of faith and we believe that he is safe with God and that he is joined by members of the family that have gone on before and have welcomed him with joy and open arms.”
She also praised his singing, writing and musical skills, noting that he had played guitar and bass in her band for years and had headlined his own show at her Dollywood amusement park ever since it opened in 1986.
“He’s had several chart records of his own, but his duet with me on ‘Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You’ will always be a highlight in my own career,” she said.
Dollywood Parks & Resorts shared a photo of Randy performing at Dollywood.
“Our hearts are heavy today as we grieve the loss of Randy Parton who lost his battle with cancer,” they tweeted. “Randy entertained millions of Dollywood guests since 1986. Thank you, Randy. We will miss your smile and talent.”
Our hearts are heavy today as we grieve the loss of Randy Parton who lost his battle with cancer. Randy entertained millions of Dollywood guests since 1986. Thank you, Randy. We will miss your smile and talent. pic.twitter.com/vYSM3m1Nt6
— Dollywood Parks & Resorts (@Dollywood) January 21, 2021
Dolly, 75, was one of 12 children born to Robert and Avie Lee Parton and raised in Tennessee’s Sevier County near the Smoky Mountains. There were six boys and six girls in the family; Dolly was fourth-born, and Randy was the eighth, but her little brother held a special place in her heart from the moment he was born.
In a “Christmas on the Front Porch” interview video on Dolly’s website, the superstar shared that she wrote the song “You Are My Christmas” for her brother Randy.
“Randy was our Christmas baby,” she said in the video. “We used to cry for one of those walking, talking dolls when we were kids that we’d see in the catalog … I remember the year that Randy was born, around Christmas, my mama would say, ‘Hey, come here! Look! We’ve got your own walking, talking doll.'”
When she wrote the song, she wanted Randy to sing on it with her. Randy’s daughter, Heidi, also sang on the record with them.
Randy is survived by Heidi, his wife Deb, son Sabyn, and grandsons Huston and Trent. Randy was 67.