LATEST: Dolly Parton has paid tribute to her former mentor PORTER WAGONER. The Jolene star - who was a frequent collaborator of Wagoner's - regularly visited the country music icon in a Nashville, Tennessee hospital during his battle with lung cancer. Parton, 61, concedes she is grateful she was able to spend a few final hours with the man who launched her career before his death on Sunday (28Oct07). She says, "Part of him will always live through me and my music as he was my first big break. "It felt good that I had the opportunity to say goodbye properly." Wagoner's funeral will open to the public at the Grand Ole Opry House on Thursday (1Nov07).