On Thursday, the mother of Oprah Winfrey, Vernita Lee, died at the age of 83-years-old. TMZ confirmed that she passed away on Thanksgiving Day after Winfrey’s niece, Alisha Hayes, revealed the news on social media.
Her family said to People Magazine that she died in their home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was laid to rest during a private funeral. Sources said that “even though she didn’t have the best relationship with Vernita, her passing was really devastating for her.”
Lee has two daughters, Winfrey, and Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, who she gave up for adoption but later connected with as an adult. Her other two children, Jeffrey, and Patricia Lee died back in 1989 and 2003, respectively.
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Vernita Lee, #OprahWinfrey’s Mum has passed away at the age of 83. Vernita died on November 22 in her home. Private funeral services have already been held. We are sending our love and prayers to Oprah and her family. ❤️❤️❤️ #Breakingnews #Blanckmagazine #Blanckdigital #Blanck #News
Thus far, Winfrey hasn’t said anything about her mother’s passing. As fans of Oprah know, she was raised by her grandmother and was sent to live with Lee when she was 6-years-old.
The star said during an interview in 2015 that she felt as though there always was a God watching over her who loved her. The wonder and spectacularity of such a belief are what carried her through life, especially during the time when she moved from her grandmother to her mother’s care as a child.
While Oprah didn’t have a great relationship with her mother, she encouraged her fans to love their families during her 2013 LifeClass.
Oprah urged her fans and followers to have a “perfect love for imperfect people.” Interestingly, Oprah is one of the richest women in the world, due to her years of successful television programs as well as her enterprises, including the network, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Previously, the media mogul said she learned a surprising piece of information about herself online, that she was the very first African-American billionaire, and the first African-American woman as well.
Oprah first earned that status all the way back in 2003. While one might think Oprah is always hustling, never worrying about others, she is, in fact, one of the biggest contributors to charity in the world.
During her time on this earth, Oprah has donated more money to charity than any other African-American, other than Michael Jackson. There’s no question that Oprah has managed to secure a name for herself in the entertainment industry since she first began hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986.