Oprah's Mother Vernita Lee Has Died, Aged 83

Oprah's mother, Vernita Lee, died on Thanksgiving day aged 83.

TMZ confirmed with the family and also revealed that a private funeral service had already been held following Lee's death.

According to E! News, Oprah was not with her mother at the time of her death, spending Thanksgiving with girls from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, the South African boarding school she founded in 2002.

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. Oprah wrote that, at the time, she didn't really "know" her mother.

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

"You've got to meet people where they are and love them at the level that they can receive it," Oprah said in 2013, "You have in your own mind what a mother should be and what you wanted your mother to be -- and in many cases, your mothers and your fathers can't be what your ideal is."

In 1990 the pair eventually repaired their relationship, and Lee appeared on an episode of Winfrey's talk show

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.

While the private funeral has already been held, the family have requested donations be made to Feeding America in her name.

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