Dolly Parton mourns the death of her uncle Bill Owens, credits him for helping her career take off

Dolly Parton is mourning the loss of a beloved family member who also worked tirelessly to further her musical career. The singer shared on Wednesday that her uncle, Bill Owens, had died at the age of 85.

“I’ll start this eulogy by saying that I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been there,” the country legend, 75, wrote on Facebook. “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.”

Owens’ impact on his future superstar niece wasn’t limited to those early days, either. He also helped her get her first music industry jobs in Nashville and wrote a number of songs with Parton throughout her career, including “Put it Off Until Tomorrow.”

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That song was included on the singer’s 1967 studio debut, “Hello, I’m Dolly,” and was named BMI Song of the Year.

In the eulogy, Parton also noted that Owens had an impressive songwriting career of his own, penning songs for Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs, Kris Kristofferson and others.

She also pointed to his involvement with her Dollywood theme park and offered her sympathies to her uncle’s friends and fans, as well as his wife, children, grandkids and great-grandkids.

“It’s really hard to say or to know for sure what all you owe somebody for your success,” Parton reflected. “But I can tell you for sure I owe Uncle Billy an awful lot.”

“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,” she wrote. “Rest in peace, Uncle Bill.”

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