Gretchen Wilson’s Beloved Uncle Vern Dies

The country singer will miss Tuesday’s Big & Rich show for the funeral.

The world met Uncle Vern when 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley introduced him during a profile piece on his country singer niece, Gretchen Wilson. Gretchen and Uncle Vern had been inseparable, lifelong buddies, even serving as bouncers together at Big O’s bar in Gretchen's hometown of Pocahontas, Ill. Gretchen even moved her uncle to the Nashville area in 2005 so they could be neighbors.

During Saturday night’s Big & Rich/Gretchen show, Gretchen told the crowd in Laughlin, Nev., that her Uncle Vern had passed away Friday morning, from a heart attack. She toasted her uncle with his favorite drink, Jim Beam whiskey.

In a statement, Gretchen said, “This obviously caught all of us by surprise, and we are just devastated. I have a hole in my heart and a void in my life that will never be filled. Vern will not only be missed by my family and me but by everyone who was ever blessed to hear his laugh and see his smiling face. I will miss you, Vern.”

Gretchen will miss Tuesday night's tour date in Salt Lake City to attend the funeral.

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