Don Warden, the longtime manager of Dolly Parton who met the young country singer when she joined “The Porter Wagoner Show,” has died. He was 87.
Kirt Webster, spokesman for Parton, confirmed Monday that Warden died on Saturday. No location or cause of death was provided.
Parton said in a statement posted on her website Monday that Warden was “like a father, a brother, a partner and one of my best friends.” She added, “I feel like a piece of my heart is missing today. Certainly a huge piece of my life is gone. Rest in peace Don and know for sure that I will always love you.”
Warden was a self-taught steel guitar player who was a founding member of the Porter Wagoner Trio and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1957.
When Parton left the popular TV show in 1974, Warden remained her manager for nearly five decades.