Oprah Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, died on Thanksgiving Day, her family confirmed on Monday. She was 83.
Lee was laid to rest in a private ceremony.
"After the passing of her mother, we’re sending well wishes to @Oprah and her family," OprahMagazine posted on Instagram.
Born in segregated Mississippi, Vernita Lee gave birth to Oprah in 1954 with Vernon Winfrey.
Oprah’s grandmother raised her until she was six, when she went to live with her mom in Milwaukee, where Lee worked as a housemaid.
"I was asking the question ... what is a mother? What are you supposed to feel about your mother?" Oprah once said, referring to their separation.
Three years after they were reunited, Vernita had another child whom she gave up for adoption.
Oprah finally met her half-sister, Patricia, in 2010, and paid for her college education.
Vernita also had a son, who died in 1989.
Oprah had Vernita on TV show in 1990, set her up in a luxurious Milwaukee condo and gave her a reported $5,000 a month.
Besides daughters Oprah and Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, Lee is survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Memorial donations can be made in Vernita's name to feedingamerica.org.
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