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Dolly Parton's brother Randy dies of cancer aged 67

Dolly Parton's brother Randy has died at the age of 67 after a battle with cancer, his sister said Thursday..

The country music queen, 75, shared the sad news on Facebook on Thursday, revealing that her little brother has 'lost his battle with cancer.' 

'The family and I are grieving his loss but we know he is in a better place than we are at this time,' she said.

'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.'

RIP: Dolly Parton announced brother Randy Parton had died of cancer in a Facebook post on Wednesday. The pair are seen together in 2015 at Dollywood's Celebrity Theater in Tennessee

She went on to talk about his talents, calling Randy 'a great singer, writer, and entertainer' who 'sang, played guitar and bass in [Dolly's] band for many years.' 

'He headed his own show at Dollywood 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.'

Randy's solo career earned major radio play during the 80s, with tracks like Hold Me Like You Never Had Me and Shot Full of Love both making their mark on Top 40 radio.

Dolly remembered a special family moment with Randy, saying: 'You Are My Christmas, our duet on my latest Christmas album, joined with his daughter Heidi, will always be a favorite. 

Parton said: 'The family and I are grieving his loss but we know he is in a better place than we are at this time'

Good times: Randy, Dolly and Canadian singer Anne Murray are seen in 1977 above

'It was his last musical recording and he shined on it just like he's shining in heaven now,' she explained.

Randy, the eighth of the 12 Parton siblings, is survived by his wife Deb, his daughter Heidi, son Sabyn, and grandsons Huston and Trent. 

Dolly spoke for the surviving nine siblings as she concluded: 'We will always love him and he will always be in our hearts.'

Randy's death comes two years after brother Floyd's death in December 2018. He was 61.

Come together:  The sad news comes on the heels of Dolly's 75th birthday, which she celebrated with a hope-filled message for fans

The sad news comes on the heels of Dolly's 75th birthday, which she celebrated on Tuesday with a hope-filled message for fans.  

'This year my birthday wish is a call for kindness,' the Jolene singer wrote, sharing a glamorous black and white photo of herself. 

'We can't just hope for a brighter day, we have to work for a brighter day. Love too often gets buried in a world of hurt and fear. So today, January 19th, let's get to unearthing love.'

The Parton siblings were raised by their tobacco farming parents, Avie Lee Parton and Robert Lee Parton, in the Smoky Mountains. 

The family had little money, and lived in a one-room home in Locust Ridge - a site which has now been turned into a museum. 

'The kids peed on me every night. 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 said in a 1978 interview. 

'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 Parton family - with Dolly upper right at the back - is pictured at Christmas in 1960

A childhood photograph of the Parton family. The oldest sibling is now 80; the youngest 61

In the summer, the children would wash in the river, using soap they made themselves.

In the winter months, bathing meant using a tiny pan of water in the house.

'We'd have a pan of water and we'd wash down as far as possible, then we'd wash up as far as possible,' she explained.

With their parents working in the fields, the children were asked to take responsibility for their siblings.  

'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'.

'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.'

For Dolly, tragedy struck when four days after 'her' baby, Larry, was born, he died.

'There is a lot of heartache and stuff that goes on with that,' Dolly said.

She was nine years old at the time.

The family could not afford doctors, and so accidents had to be dealt with at home.

When Dolly jumped over a fence and landed on a broken Mason jar, almost losing three toes, her mother served as surgeon.  

'So they grabbed me up and all my dad and my brothers, they had to hold me down,' Dolly recalled in an episode of her podcast, Dolly Parton's America.

'They put kerosene on it for antiseptic and Momma took her sewing needles — she used to make our quilts and stuff, and she literally had to sew my toes back on. 

'But they worked and they healed and I'm still walking on them.'

Dolly was performing at the age of ten, and moved to Nashville in 1964, after graduating from high school, to pursue her dreams of singing stardom.

Some of her siblings have also pursued creative passions.

Willadeene, the oldest, now aged 80, became an author and published several books including a history of the Smoky Mountains and a cookbook.

Cassie, Stella and Freida are musicians - although Freida in punk rock rather than country.

Freida's twin brother, Floyd, was also musical, writing Dolly's hit Rocking Years. He died in 2018, aged 61. 

Rachel Dennison, now 61, became an actress, staring in the sitcom 9 to 5, which ran from 1982 to 1988, based on Dolly's 1980 film of the same name. 

Her brothers Robert Lee Jr, David and Coy Denver have led mainly private lives. 

Their father died in 2000; their mother in 2003. 

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