In a Father's Day post on Instagram, Jennifer Nettles revealed publicly that her dad, 69-year-old Beamon Nettles, died on May 14. The country artist and actor paired the announcement with a video of herself performing an acoustic version of Merle Haggard's "The Way I Am," a favorite of her father's that she sang at his funeral.
"The Way I Am" became a No. 2 country hit for Haggard in 1980. Nettles turned 6 that year, which intertwines the song with early and fond family memories.
"I have a vivid memory of him playing it on 45, singing along as I fell asleep at my grandmother's ('Boo-ma') house," Nettles wrote.
Penned by Sonny Throckmorton and covered by Alan Jackson and Cody Jinks, "The Way I Am" gets told from a working-class perspective, making it seem fitting as a tribute to a loved one Nettles described as "a precious, quiet soul who made his way gently in the world."
Nettles begins her message explaining why she waited to make her father's death public, writing that "I'm often private about certain sacred pieces of my life and I share them as, and if, I am ready."
She ends imploring fans to "hold your loves close" before thanking "all the fathers out there."
Fellow celebrities offering their best wishes in the comments include country songwriter Shane McAnally, Nettles' Righteous Gemstones co-star Edi Patterson and a rocker who emerged from the same Atlanta scene as Nettles and Sugarland, John Mayer.
Per an obituary published by Douglas Now, a local newspaper from Nettles' hometown of Douglas, Ga., Johnnie "Beamon" Nettles died at Colquitt Regional Medical Center in Ashburn, Ga. No cause of death is specified. A private funeral service was held on May 19.
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