Dolly Parton’s tale in one of rags to riches, rising from her poverty-stricken childhood to musical renown and global superstardom.
Sadly it emerged today that brother Randy – one of the singer’s 11 siblings – has died following a cancer battle.
Dolly has released a statement sharing the sad news, expressing grief and remorse but proudly writing that Randy was “shining in heaven now.”
It’s not the first heartbreak Dolly has suffered in her lifetime.
As the fourth eldest of the 12, Dolly was often tasked with helping her parents out with the younger children in any way that she could.
In rural Tennessee, it was a house of 14 under one roof.
“The kids peed on me every night,” the star told Playboy in 1978, “We slept three and four in the bed.
“I would wash every night. And as soon as I go to bed, the kids would wet on me and I’d have to get up in the morning and do the same thing.”
She added: “That was the only warm thing we knew in the winter time. That was almost a pleasure to get peed on because it was so cold.
“Lord. It was as cold in the room as it was outside. We’d bundle up to go to bed.”
The summer months were thankfully easier, Dolly recalling that they were able to wash themselves in a nearby river.
And as the family grew bigger, more and more responsibility was placed on the shoulders of the older kids.
“My mother, through the years, when we were born, since there were so many of us, used to say, ‘This one’s gonna be your baby,'” she explained.
“That just meant that you got to take extra care of it. You have got to get up with it at night and rock it back and forth.”
When Dolly was just nine, the family was struck by tragedy – Larry Parton, one of her baby brothers, died as a newborn.
“There is a lot of heartache and stuff that goes on with that,” she said.
Floyd Parton, Dolly’s longtime songwriting collaborator, died in 2018 at the age of 61, and today she confirmed Randy’s death.
That means the remaining siblings are Dolly herself, Willadeene, David Wilburn, Coy Denver, Bobby Lee, Stella Mae, Cassie Nan, and twins Freida Estelle and Rachel Ann.
“My brother Randy has lost his battle with cancer,” she announced today, “The family and I are grieving his loss but we know he is in a better place than we are at this time.”