Oprah Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, has died

Oprah Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, has died

Oprah Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, has died

File picture: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP. A Winfrey spokeswoman issued a statement, today, saying Lee died at her Milwaukee home on November 22.

While Oprah made no official statement about her mother's passing, the family did confirm her death and noted that the burial had already taken place during a private funeral.

No other details were given.

Born in 1935 in segregated Mississippi, Lee worked as a housekeeper while Oprah was raised by her maternal grandmother until she was 6-years-old when she was sent to Wisconsin to live with her mother.

The duo had a distant relationship until later in Winfrey's life, and they eventually appeared together on her eponymous talk show in 1990. She had two other children, Jeffrey and Patricia, who died before her.

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Lee was a lifetime member of the NAACP, and her daughter joked at the dinner that Lee had been asking her for years to come to Waukesha County to speak at the Freedom Fund event.

Winfrey has always been outspoken about the tumultuous relationship she had with her mother when she was young.

"Thank you to my mother Vernita Lee for doing the best she knew and could do in raising me", she said.

"I walked into that space feeling completely alone and abandoned".

After sharing two Instagram videos on Thanksgiving, Winfrey had stayed quiet on social media. "I don't really even know my mother", Winfrey told HuffPost in a 2015 interview. "I loved her the way that she loves people now". Vernita passed away on Thanksgiving Day.

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