Nephew Gary Vann says his uncle died Monday in a Tahlequah, Oklahoma, hospital of pneumonia while undergoing treatment of an ongoing heart condition.
Mack Vann would great visitors with the word "osiyo," the Cherokee word for "hello." He was a descendant of Andrew Ross, brother of Cherokee Chief John Ross who led the tribe down the "Trail of Tears" from its ancestral home in Georgia to eastern Oklahoma.
He told The Associated Press in 2014 that he learned some English in school but quit after the fourth grade to help with the family farm and slowly forgot how to speak it.
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