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

Vernita Lee the mother of Oprah Winfrey has died aged 83

Vernita was still a teen when she gave birth to Oprah, 64, with Vernon Winfrey, and left the infant to be raised by her own mother Hattie Mae Lee in MS, while she worked away from home in Milwaukee as a housemaid.

Winfrey posted a picture on Instagram of herself and her mother at a family gathering. Vernita passed away on Thanksgiving Day. "It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace".

Her family said to People Magazine that she died in their home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was laid to rest during a private funeral.

No other details were given.

Vernita Lee, who worked as a maid, was 18 and not married when Winfrey was born in rural MS in 1954. 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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Vernita Lee is survived by Winfrey and her half-sister Patricia Amanda Faye Lee as well as her grandchildren Alisha Hayes, Chrishaunda Lee Perez, Aquarius Lofton, Andre Brown and several great-grandchildren. She was 83 years old. "I don't really even know my mother", Oprah said of the childhood move, Newsweek reported.

Lee was 18 when she gave birth to her first child in rural MS, naming her Orpah, but the girl became known as Oprah but because everyone mispronounced it.

"[Oprah's] mother wrote me", Vernon once told People, "and told me that, you know, the baby had just come, in a letter: what it weighed, what its name was and so forth and so on". When she moved in with her mother, she says Lee was a total stranger to her.

"When you walk into a room, you never walk alone", Winfrey said during a recent speech.

Vernita had another child in 1963 and gave her up for adoption.

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