Oprah Winfrey is mourning the loss of her mother Vernita Lee. People confirmed that the media mogul’s mother passed away at the age of 83 on Thanksgiving Day, at her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. No additional details about the cause of death have been released. People did confirm that private funeral services have been held. Oprah has not broken her silence about her mother’s death. Vernita was born on May 2, 1935 in Mississippi. Vernita did domestic work. In 1954 she gave birth to her first daughter, Oprah, who was raised by both her and her grandparents throughout her childhood.
Oprah's mother Vernita Lee passed away at the age of 83 Photo: Getty Images
Oprah is the oldest of Vernita’s children. She also gave birth to Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, who she placed up for adoption and later reconnected with, son Jeffery, who died in 1989 and daughter Patricia Lee Lloyd, who died in 2003. While she largely remained out of the public eye, Vernita opened up her famous daughter during an interview with a local news station in 2007. “I knew Oprah was going to be something,” she told Milwaukee TV station WTMJ.
“I loved her the way that she loves people now.” She also mentioned being proud of Oprah’s work in 1985’s The Color Purple. During a 2013 episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass, the 64-year-old, who has no children of her own, opened up about the biggest lesson she learned from her relationship with her mother.
The family said that funeral services have been held for Vernita Photo: Getty Images
“I’ve had to lean to do this with my mother,” she said. “That’s why it hit me. You’ve got to meet people where they are and love them at the level they can receive it.” Vernita also survives by four grandchildren and a great-grandchild. The family shared that donations could be made in memory of Vernita to the nonprofit organization Feeding America.