Oprah Winfrey’s mom Vernita Lee died on Thanksgiving at her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, TMZ reports. She was 83 years old. A private funeral service has already been held.
According to US Weekly, Vernita Lee was born in deeply segregated Mississippi on May 2, 1935 and worked for many years as a housekeeper. Oprah was raised by Lee’s mother, her maternal grandmother, until the age of 6, when she went to live with Vernita in Milwaukee.
Vernita is survived by Oprah and Oprah’s her half-sister Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, grandchildren Alisha Hayes, Chrishaunda Lee Perez, Aquarius Lofton, Andre Brown and great-grandchildren Jaxon Praise Perez, Chai Theresa Perez, Donovan Hayes and Trinity Hayes.
Lee’s family has suggested memorial donations be made in her name to Feeding America, the United States’ largest domestic hunger-relief non-profit organization.
Update, November 27, 11:52 a.m.: Oprah posted a family photo on Instagram Monday night, thanking fans for their condolences following Vernita Lee’s passing. “It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace,” Winfrey wrote in the caption.