Dolly Parton is mourning the death of her uncle – a man she credits with launching her career.

The country legend revealed the death of Bill Owens on social media yesterday, stating: “I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been there.”

Paying tribute, she said: “He was there in my young years to encourage me to keep playing my guitar, to keep writing my songs, to keep practicing my singing. And he was there to help build my confidence standing on stage where he was always standing behind me or close beside me.”

The estimates that her uncle wrote at least 800 songs over the years, including a collaboration with her on 1966’s ‘Put It Off Until Tomorrow’ which went on to win BMI’s Song of the Year award. Other artists who performed his songs include Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs and Kris Kristofferson.

She ended the post with: “I’m sure that Uncle Bill’s friends, fans, his wife Sandy, his kids, grandkids and great grandkids will join me when I say that we will always love you.”