Musician Randy Parton, the brother of country super-star Dolly Parton, has died after a battle with cancer at the age of just 67.
Announcing his death on Thursday on her Facebook page, 75-year-old Dolly said the Parton family was grieving the loss of Randy but “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
Dolly described her brother as a “great singer, writer and entertainer”, adding that he’d headlined a show at her Dollywood amusement park since it opened in 1986.
“He sang, played guitar and bass in my band for many years,” she wrote. “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. ‘You Are My Christmas’, our duet on my latest Christmas album, joined with his daughter Heidi, will always be a favourite. It was his last musical recording and he shined on it just like he’s shining in heaven now.
“We will always love him and he will always be in our hearts.”
‘Old Flames Can’t hold A Candle To You’ was a chart-topper, and Randy also sang on the soundtrack to hit 1984 film Rhinestone that starred Dolly, as well as having five hits to his own name on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart in the 1980s.
Dolly told The Tennessean last year that ‘You Are My Christmas’ was inspired by Randy himself. “He was born around Christmas time and he was our Christmas baby,” she said. “We always called him ‘Christmas’ just for fun … I just thought, well, I’m gonna write a song for him to sing with me.”
One of Randy’s other sisters Stella, another member of the family who is also a talented musician, thanked fans for their kind thoughts and prayers. “Thank you for you kind thoughts and prayers as we grieve the loss of our precious brother Randy,” she tweeted. “God bless.”
Others used social media to share their condolences since news broke of Randy’s death.
“Deepest condolences on the loss of your brother,” one fan wrote on Facebook. “I heard Randy perform in the ’90s at Dollywood and also got to meet him. He was very entertaining and kind.” Another commented: “So so sorry to hear this. I played drums in Randy’s band for several years. He was a great friend, father and musician. I got my start playing at Dollywood and in East Tennessee thanks to him. Rest in peace old friend. Prayers to Deb, Heidi and the family”.
Dollywood Parks & Resorts also remembered Randy with much affection.
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
Randy is survived by his wife Deb, daughter Heidi, son Sabyn, and grandsons Huston and Trent. He also leaves behind sisters Dolly, Rachel, Willadeene, Stella, Cassie and Freida and brothers David, Coy Denver and Robert (Bobby). His passing comes more than two years after Dolly’s youngest brother Floyd died at 61.
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