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Dolly Parton Mourns Death of Longtime Manager Don Warden

Dolly Parton is dealing with the death of longtime friend, manager and Steel Guitar Hall of Famer Don Warden. Warden died on March 11. He was 87.

Parton addressed Warden’s death on Twitter and in a lengthy tribute on her website. “A huge piece of my life is gone. Rest in peace Don and know for sure that I will always love you,” she writes on Twitter.

“I’ve known and loved Don Warden since I joined The Porter Wagoner Show in 1967,” she adds on her website. “He was like a father, a brother, a partner and one of my best friends. I feel like a piece of my heart is missing today.”

Prior to the television show, The Porter Wagoner Show, Warden was a founding member of the Porter Wagoner Trio and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1957. In 2008, he was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.

Warden and Parton first met when she joined The Porter Wagoner Show in 1967. Both left the show in 1974 while Warden became Parton’s manager, a position he held for nearly five decades. Warden’s wife, Ann, also assisted in Parton’s career in helping to decorate Dollywood during its early days, serving on the board of the Dollywood Foundation, and working at Parton’s Tennessee Mountain Home.

Parton also shared her admiration for her late manager within the pages of her 1994 book, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business.

“Anybody who knows him – and he knows everybody – looks up to him,” she writes. “At one time there was even a T-shirt being sold around Nashville that read ‘I KNOW DON WARDEN.’ People are still calling me and asking, ‘How can I get one of those Don Warden T-shirts?’ Sometimes it feels like people are only using me to get to Don.”

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