Oprah Winfrey opened up about her mother Vernita Lee's death and thanked fans for their support and sympathy

By Robyn Merrett
November 26, 2018 06:13 PM
Advertisement

Oprah Winfrey is breaking her silence on her mother Vernita Lee’s death.

On Monday, four days after Lee died in her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Thanksgiving, Winfrey, 64, shared a sweet family photo with her mother and thanked fans for their support and sympathy.

“Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee’s passing. It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at peace,” Winfrey wrote. Lee was 83.

In the photo, Lee can be seen sitting at a table with family members, including Winfrey and her longtime partner Stedman Graham, crowding around her.

A spokesperson for Winfrey told PEOPLE Lee has already been laid to rest at a private funeral.

The Greenleaf star’s mother was born on May 2, 1935 and worked as a housekeeper throughout her life. She is survived by Winfrey and daughter Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, who she placed for adoption at birth and reconnected with later in life.

Lee also had two other children — son Jeffrey Lee, who died in 1989 and daughter Patricia Lee Lloyd, who died in 2003.

Before her death, Lee spent her final years in the comfort of her home.

During a 2010 interview with Barbara Walters, Winfrey explained she retired her mother and father after she gained success from The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Oprah with her late mother, Vernita Lee, and sister Patricia Amanda Faye Lee
OWN Communications

“[I wanted] to take care of them and to provide for them and to make sure that they never had to want for anything as they tried to do for me,” the mogul said.

Despite Winfrey’s prosperity, Lee’s life was filled with challenges— specifically the death of her two children.

Of the loss, she told a local Milwaukee station TMJ4 in May 2007 that her Christian faith helped her pull through the tragic deaths.

“I am a Christian lady and if you’re a Christian person it helps you to deal with situations like that,” she said. “I spent a lot of time with Oprah and Jeffrey and Patricia.”