Oprah Winfrey's mother Vernita Lee dies aged 83 on Thanksgiving Day

Vernita Lee and Oprah Winfrey

Vernita couldn't raise Oprah because she moved to Milwaukee where she worked as a housemaid.

Vernita Lee, the mother of Oprah Winfrey, has died aged 83. A spokeswoman for Winfrey on Monday issued a statement saying Lee died at her Milwaukee home on November 22.

Other details about Lee's death, including the cause, are not clear.

Lee has two daughters, Winfrey, and Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, who she gave up for adoption but later connected with as an adult.

After living with her grandmother in MS for the first six years of her life, Oprah traveled to Milwaukee to live with her mother.

Oprah and her mother had a strained relationship that the talk show megastar openly discussed her hard past with Lee.

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Lee is survived by her daughters as well as four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

There are reports Vernita retired from a hospital dietitian job sometime after she reconnected with O, moved into a luxury condo in Milwaukee and got a stipend from her famous daughter of $5k a month. Lee gave birth to Oprah's younger half-sister, who died in 2003.

"I knew Oprah was going to be something, " she said. She was 83 years old.

Oprah's niece, Alisha Hayes, was first to share the news of Lee's death in a social media post on Thanksgiving. Private funeral services have been held. I don't know anybody.

Vernita explained that she never told Oprah about her half-sister "because I thought it was a awful thing for me to do". "I walked into that space feeling completely alone and abandoned". Vernita had a son, named Jeffrey, who died in 1989 from AIDS. "I loved her the way that she loves people now".

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