Oprah Winfrey’s mother Vernita Lee has died. Lee, 83, died at her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Thanksgiving, a spokesperson for the family tells “Good Morning America.”
The family also tells “GMA” that “private funeral services have been held” and any memorial donations in her name should be made to Feeding America, a national non-profit organization than runs a network of dozens of food banks across the U.S. Winfrey hasn’t commented herself on social media about the loss, but did give fans a look inside her holiday festivities last week. On the posts, fans and friends have taken to writing several condolences to the media mogul and icon. “I’m sorry for your loss,” and “Praying for you and your family!!” are just a couple of the digital notes that were addressed to Winfrey.
Born in 1954, Winfrey spent her early years with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, in Mississippi, before she went to live with her mom when she was 6. Because of a roommate her mother was living with, Winfrey was made to sleep outside that first night. “I remember praying on my knees the very first night I had been removed from my grandmother,” she told HuffPost. “I don’t remember ever shedding a tear about it because I knew that God was my father, Jesus was my brother, and they were with me.” Winfrey has been open about the rough relationship she had with her mother early on, though the two became closer in later years.