Dolly Parton celebrated her 75th birthday by calling on her fans to spread kindness, saying “love is more contagious than a virus”.
The beloved country music singer marked the milestone on Tuesday and reflected on a tumultuous 12 months marred by the pandemic.
Parton, who was credited with helping the development of the Moderna vaccine after a million dollar donation, shared a message on her website saying “like everyone else, it is now my turn for a COVID covered birthday”.
She wrote: “So what do you do? What do you want? Should you even celebrate?
“I am choosing the quiet path so I can stay close to the ones I love to count my blessings and think hard about what this new year will bring.”
Parton, star of the film 9 to 5, said her birthday wish is for fans to do “something a little different today,” adding “let’s call it a call for kindness”.
The Jolene singer suggested fans could donate to charity, contact an old friend, volunteer or home a rescue dog.
Parton said: “I always encourage people to dream big but I also take great care to follow that up with the message to work hard. We can’t just hope for a brighter day, we have to work for a brighter day.
“Love too often gets buried in a world of hurt and fear. We have to work to dig it out so we can share it with our family, our friends and our neighbours. So today, January 19th, let’s get to unearthing love.
“Love is more contagious than a virus so let your best self shine in a glorious light and others will be inspired by you.”
She added: “This is my birthday wish and may your birthday wishes also come true.”
Parton’s celebrity admirers were among those wishing her a happy birthday.
Actress Reese Witherspoon shared a picture of the pair together and wrote: “Happy Birthday @dollyparton! Your bright spirit and passion for helping others shines through in everything you do. Thank you for always inspiring me to DREAM MORE! I love you forever.”