Country songwriter Bill Owens died on April 7 at the age of 85 \tHe was the uncle and musical mentor of Dolly Parton, helping her grow as an artist and setting up connections \tParton grieved and honored her uncle with an emotional eulogy just months after losing her brother to cancer On Wednesday, the publicist for Bill Owens confirmed that the country songwriter had died. He was 85. Owens had built a musical career that ended up inspiring and propelling that of Dolly Parton. Parton herself further confirmed the news with a lengthy eulogy. In it, she emphasized the importance Owens played in her career by stating, "I wouldn\u2019t be here if he hadn\u2019t been there." Bill Owens helped Dolly Parton on the path to success https:\/\/twitter.com\/StellaParton\/status\/1380132747725967365 When Dolly Parton was 10, Bill Owens, a country songwriter and her very own uncle, provided important early guidance. He secured her very first radio performance for the Knoxville, Tennessee show Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour. RELATED: The Honors Dolly Parton Has Turned Down During Her Long Career The two would work closely together, writes\u00a0AP, with Owens often encouraging Parton, teaching her, offering her connections, and ensured she always tried to grow as an artist. This meant encouraging her to practice guitar and transporting her to any nearby shows where she could perform. Dolly Parton honors her mentor and biggest ally https:\/\/twitter.com\/DollyParton\/status\/1379871144187207686 This has already been an emotional year of loss for Parton, who lost her brother less than three months ago. "I\u2019ve lost my beloved Uncle Bill Owens," Parton announced of her uncle, who passed away on April 7. "I knew my heart would break when he passed, and it did. I\u2019ll start this eulogy by saying I wouldn\u2019t be here if he hadn\u2019t been there." She went on offering personal firsthand testimony of his influence over her life. Parton added, "He was there\u2026 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 with his big ol\u2019 red Gretsch guitar." "It\u2019s really hard to say or to know for sure what all you owe somebody for your success. But I can tell you for sure that I owe Uncle Billy an awful lot."