Oprah Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, dies at 83

Brenda Watkins
November 26, 2018

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

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.

Lee was a teenager when she gave birth to Winfrey in MS in 1954.

Vernita is survived by Oprah and Patricia Amanda Faye Lee and grandchildren Alisha Hayes, Chrishaunda Lee Perez, Aquarius Lofton and Andre Brown, as well as great-grandchildren Jaxon Praise Perez, Chai Theresa Perez, Donovan Hayes and Trinity Hayes.

Due to a number of reasons, Vernita wasn't able to raise Oprah for the first six years of her life.

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Oprah was living with her mom when she was molested by her cousin and abused by an uncle.

Around this time, Vernita gave birth to another daughter, Oprah's younger half-sister, Patricia, who later died aged 43 in 2003. She named her Orpah, but because of mispronunciations, she later became known as Oprah. Although Oprah herself has not commented on her mother's passing, she has posted on her Instagram since then, giving fans a look at the chef Kenny G, the guy who prepares the turkey for her thanksgiving dinner and sharing a touching video of the thanksgiving welcome people receive at the Oprah mansion. She was 83 years old.

Vernita and Patricia joined Oprah on her chatshow in 2011 to talk about the secret adoption. Another one of her children died in 2003.

Oprah's niece, Alisha Hayes, spoke out about the death of Vernita on Facebook, reports Mail Online. She spent much of her childhood travelling between the homes of her mother and father, Vernon Lee. However, the relationship was eventually mended in 1990 when Oprah welcomed her mother onto her show for a personal stylist makeover.

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