Dolly Parton Reveals Her Brother Passed Away — Details on Her Family Members

Dolly Parton's siblings in order — the country star revealed that her younger brother, Randy, passed away. Plus, details on her surviving siblings.

Leila Kozma - Author

Apr. 2 2021, Updated 12:44 p.m. ET

Dolly Parton
Source: Getty

Ever since the early beginnings of her career as a country singer, Dolly Parton has kept an eye on opportunities to initiate collaborations with her siblings — some of whom made it big in the industry as well.  

While the eldest in the family, 80-year-old Willadeene, found her true calling as a poet and book author, others, like 71-year-old Stella Mae or the late Floyd Estel, enjoyed a great deal of success as musicians and songwriters. 

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Through the family's success, there have also been heartbreaking losses. The country crooner announced that her younger brother lost his battle with cancer in January 2021. Keep reading to find out more details, plus, a list of every one of Dolly's siblings in order. 

dolly parton siblings in order
Source: Getty
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Some of Dolly Parton's siblings have become singers, songwriters, and performers.

Born on March 24, 1940, in Sevierville, Tenn., Willadeene took up an interest in music at an early age — just like most of the Parton children. According to The Scottish Sun, she, Stella, and 69-year-old Cassie Parton were in a gospel music group together. 

However, singing wasn't Willadeene's greatest love. 

She became an author at a later stage in her life, publishing books like the 1985 In the Shadow of a Song: The Story of the Parton Family or the 1996 Smoky Mountain Memories: Stories from the Hearts of the Parton Family. 

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Willadeene's third volume, All-Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground, was published in 1997. Unlike her family memoirs, All-Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground is a collection of recipes guiding readers on how they can recreate the Parton family's favorite meals at home. 

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Dolly's oldest brother, 78-year-old David Wilburn, likely stayed away from the spotlight for the most part — and it's uncertain if he ever had a go at singing outside of the four walls of the family house where performing songs was considered to be an everyday activity. 

77-year-old Coy Denver and 72-year-old Robert Lee Jr. take after David Wilburn in some respects. Much like their older brother, Coy and Bobby chose a life of privacy instead of becoming famous musicians. 

Reportedly, Stella made her first TV debut aged 7, when she joined Dolly to perform on a Knoxville TV show. Some sources claim that she first appeared on a radio show about two years later.  

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As one of the most successful members of the Parton family, Stella released one of her first albums, "I Want to Hold You In My Dreams Tonight," in 1975.

The LP was soon followed by dozens of others, including the 1977 "Country Sweet," the 1982 "So Far ... So Good," and the 2001 "Appalachian Blues." 

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Cassie got her first taste of fame with the gospel group she, Willadeene, and Stella performed in. In 1967, they even recorded a gospel album titled "In The Garden." According to The List, Cassie performed with Dolly on her 2013 show, My People, as well. 

On Jan. 21, 2021, Dolly announced that her younger brother, Randy Parton, passed away at the age of 67 from 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 wrote. "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."

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As a performer, Randy appeared on shows like Pop! Goes the Country, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Dolly Parton & Friends. What's more, the singer appeared in Rhinestone, a musical comedy film starring his sister Dolly, Sylvester Stallone, and others. 

Source: Instagram
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Floyd Estel turned out to be one of Dolly's favorite collaborators. He wrote "Rockin' Years," a 1991 duet featuring Dolly and Ricky Van Shelton. Floyd passed away aged 61, in 2018. 

Larry Gerald was born on July 6, 1955. He tragically died the same day.

63-year-old Freida Estelle has one of the most intriguing life journeys in the family. Following a brief stint as a punk singer — for a while, she also worked as one of Dolly's backup singers, of course — Freida became an ordained minister. 

She opened her antique shop and wedding chapel, Parton Family Wedding Chapel and Antiques, in Sevierville, Tenn., in 2014. The shop appears to have closed down since. 

61-year-old Rachel Ann played Doralee Rhodes Brooks, the main character of the hit TV show, Nine to Five, between 1982 and 1988. She achieved considerable success as a singer as well. 

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