What You Need to Know: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, dies

Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, has died at the age of 83. 

TMZ reported that Oprah’s niece, Alisha Hayes, posted that Lee passed away on Thanksgiving Day. The family confirmed her death to TMZ.

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People magazine confirmed that Lee died in her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Lee, who was born on May 2, 1935, is survived by Winfrey and a daughter she gave up for adoption, Patricia Amanda Faye Lee. She had two other children, Jeffrey Lee, who died in 1989, and Patricia Lee Lloyd, who died in 2003, People reported.

Winfrey’s spokesperson said Lee was laid to rest in a private funeral.

The spokesperson said Winfrey would not make any further comment at this time, Fox News reported

TMZ reported that Lee and Winfrey had a difficult relationship. Lee left Milwaukee after Winfrey was born to work as a housemaid. Winfrey was raised by her maternal grandmother until she was 6 and moved to Milwaukee with her mother. After reuniting with her mother and living with her, Winfrey said a cousin molested her and an uncle abused her, TMZ reported.

Winfrey and Lee ended up growing closer later in life. Winfrey hosted her mother on her talk show in 1990 and TMZ reported that Winfrey provided her mother a $5,000 monthly stipend.

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